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Gavin Breslin, Tandy Haughey, Wesley O’Brien, Laura Caulfield, Alexa Robertson, and Martin Lawlor

The present study had three aims, to determine: (a) whether providing a curriculum-based mental health awareness program to athletes increased knowledge of mental health and intentions to offer support; (b) whether the program increased resilience and well-being compared to a control group; and (c) the feasibility of the program. A total of 100 participants (M age = 20.78; SD = 2.91; male = 59) either attended the program or were part of a control group. Participants completed questionnaires pre-, post-, and 3-months post-intervention, although there was a low participant return rate for the 3-month follow-up (n = 15). Participants were invited to take part in a focus group to explore program relevance. Knowledge of mental health and intentions to offer support increased for the intervention group, compared to the control. The program with some modification could be integrated into university sport courses to promote mental health awareness.

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Richard E. Tahtinen and Hafrun Kristjansdottir

This study explored the influence of current anxiety and depression symptoms on intentions to seek professional help from a psychologist. Furthermore, the aim was to explore if symptoms influenced intentions differently in male and female, and in athlete and non-athlete samples. A total of 375 non-athlete university students and 187 individual sport athletes, 18 years and older were included in the study. A significant main effect of symptoms on help-seeking intentions was observed among females and this was moderated by athlete status; female athletes with depression symptoms reported lower intentions than female non-athletes with depression symptoms. There was no main effect of symptoms among athletes, but a significant cross-over interaction effect of symptoms and gender on intentions was observed; non-symptomatic female athletes reported higher intentions than male athletes without symptoms, and female athletes with depression symptoms reported lower intentions than male athletes with depression symptoms. Results suggested that experiencing depression symptoms may decrease female athletes’ intentions to seek help from psychologist.

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Danielle Rousseau, Kimberleigh Weiss-Lewit, and Mark Lilly

Yoga can be a tool that promotes well-being and fosters resilience. Yoga can strengthen survivors, support connection and collective responsibility, and even serve a role in trauma prevention. At the same time, we cannot ignore the potential for yoga to impart harm. In light of the #MeToo movement, we must recognize both yoga’s capacity for empowerment and resilience as well as acknowledge yoga’s place in a culture of sexual trauma. The current work explores yoga’s place in a sexual trauma context. We present empirical data demonstrating the benefits of yoga for survivors of sexual trauma and acknowledge the role of problematic power differentials in the yoga community. While we support the referral of clients to yoga practice, we advocate doing so in an informed and intentional way. We suggest best practices for client referrals and provide examples of empowered work going on in the yoga community. With integrity and through intentional and well-informed referral, we can support yoga that promotes accessibility, inclusion, and the potential for resilience in the wake of sexual trauma.

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Justine J. Reel and Emily Crouch

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Emily R. Hunt and Melissa C. Day

Sports injury research has predominantly focused on acute injuries, often overlooking the complexities that may be associated with chronic injury. Consequently, the aim of the present study was to understand the experiences of individuals who continued to take part in sport with a chronic injury. Using a narrative methodology, 10 athletes who had experienced chronic pain for at least one year took part in interviews which asked them to narrate their story of pain. Results identify the imprisonment narrative used to describe chronic injury and consider that the causes of this “imprisonment” may be both physical and environmental. Further, this study illustrates how athletes have coped with chronic pain, emphasizing the body-self relationship and the difficulties associated with adapted sport. These findings have important implications for practitioners working with injured athletes, emphasizing that the experiences of athletes in chronic pain may differ considerably from those in acute pain.

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Melissa G. Hunt, James Rushton, Elyse Shenberger, and Sarah Murayama

This study compared deep diaphragmatic breathing (DB) versus paced breathing and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) on indices of physiological stress reactivity in 76 varsity athletes. Athletes were trained in paced breathing, and then randomized to either DB or PMR, and underwent a cognitive stressor task. DB resulted in significantly higher tidal volume compared to PMR and paced breathing. DB also resulted in lower heart rate than PMR. Finally, DB resulted in significantly higher heart rate variability (HRV) than PMR, but not compared to simple paced breathing. Both groups reported feeling significantly more relaxed after the intervention than after paced breathing. The DB group reported a trend toward greater relaxation than the PMR group. Slow DB is an easy to teach tool that may give athletes an edge on successfully managing stress reactivity, whether they are preparing for a test or for competition.

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Brian A. Eiler, Rosemary Al-Kire, Patrick C. Doyle, and Heidi A. Wayment

Employing a natural language processing approach, we analyzed textual content derived from publicly-available athlete victim impact statements (VIS) from the Larry Nassar trial (N = 111) to examine psychosocial responses to sexual violence. To explore potential differences in a non-sports context, we conducted similar analyses on a sample of #MeToo tweets (N = 45,848). Our research focused on the semantic content of VIS, including positive and negative affect, power and trust dynamics, well-being, and post-traumatic growth. We hypothesized that athletes’ reactions to sexual violence would be more likely to contain language related to power and trust. Traditional null-hypothesis significance testing and network analyses were used to identify the psychosocial indicators unique to sexual violence disclosures in a sports context. Results indicated differential use of language related to negative affect, trust, power dynamics, and post-traumatic growth in sports versus non-sports contexts. We discuss clinical, practical, and policy-based implications for risk reduction and intervention.

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Gavin Breslin, Stephen Shannon, Kyle Ferguson, Shauna Devlin, Tandy Haughey, and Garry Prentice

Recent evidence suggests that attempts to tackle mental health stigma in athletes should include psychological theory to understand the competitive sport environment. Using the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA), the aim was to determine what demographic and psychological factors predicted mental health stigma among athletes. Athletes (n = 471) completed a questionnaire, and a multiple linear regression analyses was conducted, specifying demographic (e.g., gender), psychological (e.g., norms) and moderating variables (e.g., sport type) as predictors of stigma-related intentions to socialise with individuals who are living with a mental health condition. TRA models explained a significant amount of variance for intentions, in which knowledge about and exposure to individuals with mental health conditions significantly predicted better intentions. Further, athletes competing in team sports, particularly females, had stronger intentions. This was the first study to explore mental health stigma using the TRA. Findings can inform the development of mental health awareness programs for athletes.