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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.

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Richard Tahtinen, Michael McDougall, Niels Feddersen, Olli Tikkanen, Robert Morris, and Noora J. Ronkainen

Individual differences in vulnerability to depression are still underexplored in athletes. We tested the influence of different brooding and reflective rumination profiles (i.e., repetitive thought processes in response to low/depressed mood) on the odds of experiencing clinically relevant depressive symptoms in competitive athletes (N = 286). The Patient Health Questionnaire–9 and the Ruminative Responses Scale–short form were utilized to measure depression and rumination, respectively. Compared to athletes with a low brooding/reflection profile, athletes with a high brooding/reflection profile had significantly higher odds of experiencing clinical levels of depressive symptoms (OR = 13.40, 95% CI = 3.81–47.11). A high reflection/low brooding profile was not, however, related to increased odds of depressive symptoms. Future research could extend our findings by exploring determinants of ruminative tendencies, especially brooding, in athletes. Furthermore, psychological interventions targeting rumination could be examined as a potential prevention and treatment approach to tackling depressive symptoms in athletes.