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.
Richard Tahtinen, Hafrun Kristjansdottir, Daniel T. Olason, and Robert Morris
Andrew Evans, Robert Morris, Jamie Barker, Tom Johnson, Zoe Brenan, and Ben Warner
This paper provides athlete and practitioner insights regarding a novel coping-oriented personal-disclosure mutual-sharing (COPDMS) intervention developed and administered in a youth soccer context. Participants were 18 male soccer athletes (mean age 17.29 ± 0.73 years) who belonged to the same professional academy in England. The COPDMS intervention comprised an initial sport psychology education session (Week 1), a session introducing COPDMS (Week 2), a COPDMS session (Week 4), and a follow-up session (Week 9). During the COPDMS session, athletes mutually shared personal stories and/or information about transitions as they approached a time when they would gain a professional contract or would be released from their soccer academy. Athletes communicated a range of contextually relevant demand and resource appraisals during the COPDMS session. Several athlete and practitioner insights about the COPDMS process and outcomes were provided that can guide future researchers and practitioners seeking to develop and deliver bespoke PDMS interventions in sport.
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.
Niels B. Feddersen, Robert Morris, Louise K. Storm, Martin A. Littlewood, and David J. Richardson
The purpose was to examine the power relations during a change of culture in an Olympic sports organization in the United Kingdom. The authors conducted a 16-month longitudinal study combining action research and grounded theory. The data collection included ethnography and a focus group discussion (n = 10) with athletes, coaches, parents, and the national governing body. The authors supplemented these with 26 interviews with stakeholders, and we analyzed the data using grounded theory. The core concept found was that power relations were further divided into systemic power and informational power. Systemic power (e.g., formal authority to reward or punish) denotes how the national governing bodies sought to implement change from the top-down and impose new strategies on the organization. The informational power (e.g., tacit feeling of oneness and belonging) represented how individuals and subunits mobilized coalitions to support or obstruct the sports organization’s agenda. Olympic sports organizations should consider the influence of power when undertaking a change of culture.