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Exploring the Relationship Between Sleep Quality, Sleep Hygiene, and Psychological Distress in a Sample of Canadian Varsity Athletes

Jessica Murphy, Christopher Gladney, and Philip Sullivan

Student athletes balance academic, social, and athletic demands, often leading to increased levels of stress and poor sleep. This study explores the relationship between sleep quality, sleep hygiene, and psychological distress in a sample of student athletes. Ninety-four student athletes completed the six-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6), Sleep Hygiene Practice Scale, and four components from the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Age, gender, and sport were also collected. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index revealed that 44.7% of student athletes received ≥6.5 hr of sleep each night; 31% of athletes showed signs of severe mental illness according to the K6. Stepwise regression predicted K6 scores with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Sleep Hygiene Practice Scale scores as independent variables. A significant model accounting for 26% of the variation in K6 scores emerged; sleep schedule and sleep disturbances were significant predictors. Athletic staff should highlight the importance of sleep for mental health; suggestions on how to help athletes are provided.

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Exploring the Association Between Sport Participation and Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in a Sample of Canadian High School Students

Jessica Murphy, Karen A. Patte, Philip Sullivan, and Scott T. Leatherdale

The mental health benefits of physical activity may relate more to the context of the behavior, rather than the behavior of being active itself. The association between varsity sport (VS) participation, depression, and anxiety symptoms was explored using data from 70,449 high school students from the Cannabis use, Obesity, Mental health, Physical activity, Alcohol use, Smoking, and Sedentary behavior study. The model adjusted for potential covariates; interactions by sex and participation in outside of school sport (OSS) were explored. Overall, 70% and 24% of respondents met or exceeded cutoff values for depression and anxiety, respectively. Students participating in VS had lower symptoms of anxiety and depression compared with nonparticipants. Results were consistent regardless of OSS participation; associations were strongest among students who participated in both VS and OSS and males. Participation in VS may prove beneficial for the prevention and/or management of depression or anxiety symptoms, particularly among males. An additive beneficial effect of OSS on depression and anxiety scores may exist.