Collegiate athletes have demonstrated a need for social support to help cope with their daily responsibilities. The purpose of this research was to explore National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II athletes’ perception of social support from friends, teammates, family, coaches, significant others, and athletic trainers following injury, illness, or other identified life stressors. There were 546 participants who completed a five-part survey using the University Stress Scale, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, the Athletic Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, the Perceived Stress Scale, and a demographic section. Of the participants, 352 (64.5%) stated that they experienced moderate stress levels, and all participants indicated experiencing an identified life stressor within the last 12 months. The results indicated statistically significant differences when comparing providers of social support: females preferred the support of friends, significant others, and athletic trainers, and freshmen and sophomores perceived more social support from friends than did juniors and seniors.
Martha J. Anderson, Yvette Ingram, Linda Meyer, Thomas West, and Ellen West
Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Ellea Bachmeier, and Taylor Mair
Qualitative research has demonstrated the prevalence of gender inequity and sexism in sport-related careers, including those in sport psychology. To provide quantitative evidence, we examined the role of gender in Certified Mental Performance Consultants’ (CMPC) specialization and employment by extracting and coding the data (N = 576) from the CMPC Directory. Independent samples t tests showed that male CMPCs specialized in more masculine sports, less feminine sports, and a similar number of gender-neutral sports compared with female CMPCs. Chi-square tests of independence revealed a larger proportion of male than female CMPCs working in professional sport. No significant differences were found in other employment settings (college sport, military, and private practice), age-group specialization, and mental health licensure. These findings, which should be interpreted with caution before further investigation, suggest a need for collaboration between sport psychology professionals and sport organizations that might help mitigate internal and external barriers to gender equity.
Cassandra M. Seguin and Diane M. Culver
While research advancements have substantially improved concussion management efforts, consideration for the psychological and social aspects of concussive injuries have remained largely absent from concussion protocols. The present study was undertaken to identify elite athletes’ psychological and social needs during the recovery process. Elite athletes with a history of concussion and mental performance consultants who work with concussed elite athletes participated in focus group interviews to shed light on these needs. A thematic analysis of these focus groups revealed six psychological and social needs: acceptance, normality, confidence, self-efficacy, trust in relationships, and social support. These themes are framed within concussion literature to help initiate a conversation on how psychological and social needs should be addressed as part of multifaceted efforts to improve concussion recovery.
Shakiba Oftadeh-Moghadam and Paul Gorczynski
The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the prevalence of mental health symptoms and disorders in rugby players. Six electronic databases were searched in December 2020. Studies were included if they provided quantitative data on mental health symptoms and disorders and consisted of adult rugby players. Eight studies were included, covering symptoms of anxiety, depression, alcohol use/misuse, distress, sleeping/sleep disturbance, and eating disorders/adverse nutrition behaviors. Prevalence of mental health symptoms ranged from 6% (depression) to 68.8% (alcohol use/misuse). Most rates were similar to the general population, while symptoms of sleeping/sleep disturbance were lower, and symptoms of eating disorders/adverse nutrition behaviors and alcohol use/misuse were higher than the general population. One study included female rugby players. Epidemiological evidence comprising of rigorous diagnostic data and inclusive of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and other protected characteristics is needed to inform future mental health support in this population.
Nick Galli, Skye Shodahl, and Mark P. Otten
Because an athletes’ body is central to their identity, it is important to consider the ramifications of retirement from sport on their well-being. Using a single-group pre–post test design, the purpose of this exploratory study was to expand on the current state of knowledge regarding the body image and health behavior transition of retired intercollegiate athletes. Ten athletes from three institutions completed demographic and health behavior questions, the Body-Image Ideals Questionnaire, and selected items from the Body Parts Satisfaction Scale-Revised online prior to and after retirement (M = 305 days). Although most athletes reported maintaining healthy patterns of nutrition and physical activity in retirement, results showed that body satisfaction significantly declined, and that actual–ideal body discrepancy increased, albeit to a nonsignificant degree. National Collegiate Athletic Association athletics departments to consider how they can more effectively empower athletes to take care of and appreciate their body even after the final performance.
Graig M. Chow, Lindsay M. Garinger, Jaison Freeman, Savanna K. Ward, and Matthew D. Bird
The aim of this study was to investigate expert practitioners’ approaches to conducting a first sport psychology session with individual clients as there is sparse empirical literature on this topic. Nine expert Certified Mental Performance Consultants completed a semistructured interview where they discussed experiences conducting a first meeting with an athlete. Primary objectives included establishing the relationship, setting guidelines and expectations, understanding the client’s background, identifying presenting concerns, and formulating the treatment plan and building skills. Building rapport was an aspect used to establish the relationship while discussing confidentiality was utilized to set guidelines. Important strategies employed to increase the perceived benefits to services included conveying the consulting approach and philosophy. Lessons learned centered around doing too much and not appreciating individual differences of clients. Findings show expert consultants aim to achieve similar broad objectives in the first session and provide a basis for best practices in this area.
Bernadette “Bernie” Compton
In recent years, some sport psychology professionals have called for research and praxis embracing social justice, intersectionality, and inclusion. This special issue in the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology also points toward the importance of embracing social justice work within the field. In the following article, I share my journey and reflections about my experience with social justice and sport psychology. The story is deeply personal and provides examples I have found integral in my journey. Recommendations from my personal journey will be provided for sport psychology professionals interested in social justice work.
Stephen Shannon, Mark Shevlin, and Gavin Breslin
Aim: A recent mental health in sport consensus statement advocates Keyes’ two continua model with an associated Mental Health Continuum (MHC) instrument to assess mental health in athletes. However, there remains statistically inconsistent usage of the MHC in athletes, so further exploration of the MHC’s psychometric factors is required. Methods: Athletes (N = 1,097) aged 32.63 (SD = 11.16) comprising 603 females (55.7%) and 478 males (44.3%), completed the 14-item MHC-Short Form, alongside validated measures of anxiety and depression. Five confirmatory factor analytic and bifactor models were developed based on extant research and theory. Results: Overall, a bifactor structure with a “general” positive mental health factor, and three specific factors (“hedonic well-being,” “social well-being,” and “psychological well-being”) fitted the data well and was deemed the superior model. Conclusion: A bifactor model of the MHC-Short Form is recommended comprising a composite score alongside specific factors of hedonic, social, and psychological well-being.