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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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Richard Tahtinen, Hafrun Kristjansdottir, Daniel T. Olason, and Robert Morris

The aim of the study was to explore the prevalence of specific symptoms of depression in athletes and to test differences in the likelihood of athletes exhibiting these symptoms across age, sex, type of team sport, and level of competition. A sample of Icelandic male and female team sport athletes (N = 894, 18–42 years) was included in the study. Of the athletes exhibiting clinically significant depressive symptoms on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, 37.5% did not exhibit core symptoms of depression. Compared with males, females were significantly more likely to exhibit depressed mood, feelings of worthlessness/guilt, and problems with sleep, fatigue, appetite, and concentration. Within males, differences were mostly related to neurovegetative aspects of depression (sleep and appetite), whereas in females, differences were related to cognitive/emotional aspects (e.g., depressed mood, guilt/worthlessness). The findings underline the importance of exploring specific symptoms of depression to provide a richer understanding of depressive symptomology in athletes.