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  • Author: Graig Chow x
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Brian J. Foster and Graig M. Chow

Well-being research conducted in competitive athletics has been marred by the lack of a context-specific measurement instrument. The purpose of this study was to adapt the Mental Health Continuum – Short Form (MHC-SF) to create a sport-specific well-being instrument, the Sport Mental Health Continuum—Short Form (Sport MHC-SF), and test its initial psychometric properties. Participants were 287 collegiate athletes from a variety of sports. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) determined a three-factor structure of sport well-being, consisting of subjective, psychological, and social factors, as the model of best fit. Internal consistency reliabilities of the subscales exceeded .88. Moderate positive correlations were found between Sport MHC-SF subscales and quality of life indices, notably physical and emotional quality of life, demonstrating convergent validity. The Sport MHC-SF will facilitate empirical research by providing a more accurate and comprehensive measurement of well-being for an athletic population.

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Ryan Sides, Graig Chow, and Gershon Tenenbaum

The purpose of this study was to explore adaptation through the manipulation of perceived task difficulty and self-efficacy to challenge the concepts postulated by the two-perception probabilistic concept of the adaptation phenomenon (TPPCA) conceptual framework. Twenty-four randomized performers completed a handgrip and putting task, at three difficulty levels, to assess their self-efficacy and perceived task difficulty interactions on motivations, affect, and performances. The TPPCA was partially confirmed in both tasks. Specifically, as the task difficulty level increased, arousal increased, pleasantness decreased, and the performance declined. There was no solid support that motivational adaptations were congruent with the TPPCA. The findings pertaining to the human adaptation state represent a first step in encouraging future inquiries in this domain. The findings clarify the notion of perceived task difficulty and self-efficacy discrepancy, which then provokes cognitive appraisals and emotional resources to produce an adaptation response.

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Matthew D. Bird, Graig M. Chow, Gily Meir, and Jaison Freeman

This study investigated differences in stigmatization by others, self-stigma, and attitudes (value and discomfort) toward online counseling (OC) and face-to-face counseling (F2F), and the relationships between these variables, in college student-athletes (n = 101) and non-athletes (n = 101). Results revealed no differences in levels of stigmatization by others and self-stigma between student-athletes and non-athletes. Furthermore, both groups reported higher value, and less discomfort, in F2F compared to OC, while non-athletes reported higher levels of value in F2F compared to student-athletes. A multiple group path analysis revealed no difference in the relationship of the stigma and attitudes variables between the two groups. Stigmatization by others was a significant positive predictor of self-stigma and value in OC. In addition, self-stigma was a significant negative predictor of value in F2F, and a significant positive predictor of discomfort in F2F. The current findings have implications for university counseling centers and athletic departments.

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Graig M. Chow, Matthew D. Bird, Stinne Soendergaard, and Yanyun Yang

This manuscript seeks to offer insight about how coaches can better address drinking among collegiate student-athletes. Using a mixed-methods design, 519 NCAA coaches reported their attitudes and behaviors toward student-athlete drinking, and responded to open-ended questions about their perceived role, strategies, and challenges to addressing problems in this population. Three dimensions of coaches’ attitudes and behaviors toward student-athlete drinking emerged that were consistent regardless of the players’ or coach’s gender or division: Concerned Communication, Conditional Leniency, and Enforcement. Effective strategies identified by coaches included enforcement of policy, education about consequences of drinking, establishment of quality coach-athlete relationships, and management of athletes’ schedules. Coaches indicated the need to play a role in managing, educating, influencing, and supporting the student-athletes to prevent alcohol misuse. Coaches reported challenges regarding the culture of drinking on college campuses, individual differences (e.g., age) among student-athletes, acceptance and enforcement of the alcohol policy, lack of awareness about student-athletes’ activities, and identification of alcohol misuse.

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Graig M. Chow, Matthew D. Bird, Nicole T. Gabana, Brandon T. Cooper, and Martin A. Swanbrow Becker

Student-athletes are susceptible to mental health problems that disrupt optimal functioning and well-being. Despite having many protective factors, student-athletes represent an at-risk subgroup of college students who experience mental health concerns due to the distress of balancing multiple obligations. However, many student-athletes underutilize psychological services. Stigma is the main barrier preventing student-athletes from seeking help, and mental health literacy (MHL) interventions addressing knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders have traditionally been used to destigmatize mental illness. This study investigated the impact of a 4-week program on stigma, MHL, and attitudes and intentions toward seeking help with 33 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I student-athletes. The program was composed of four science-based interventions—MHL, empathy, counter stereotyping, and contact—delivered face-to-face within a group setting. MHL, attitudes toward seeking help, and intentions to seek counseling improved from preintervention to postintervention and to 1-month follow-up. Self-stigma was reduced from preintervention to postintervention.

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Brad Donohue, Yulia Gavrilova, Marina Galante, Elena Gavrilova, Travis Loughran, Jesse Scott, Graig Chow, Christopher P. Plant, and Daniel N. Allen

Athletes experience unique stressors that have been indicated to compromise their mental wellness and sport performance, yet they underutilize mental health services. Indeed, very few mental health interventions for athletes have been developed to fit sport culture, and well-controlled mental health outcome research in athlete populations is warranted. In this randomized controlled trial, a sport specific optimization approach to concurrent mental health and sport performance (The Optimum Performance Program in Sports; TOPPS) was examined. Seventy-four collegiate athletes (NCAA = 42; club = 11; intramural = 21) formally assessed for mental health diagnostic severity were randomly assigned to TOPPS or campus counseling/psychological services as usual (SAU) after baseline. Dependent measures assessed general mental health, mood, mental health factors affecting sport performance in training, competition and life outside of sports, days using substances, sexual risk behaviors, happiness in relationships, relationships affecting sport performance, and contributions of relationship to sport performance. Intent to treat repeated measures analyses indicated that participants in TOPPS consistently demonstrated better outcomes than SAU up to 8-months post-randomization and for mental health/substance use measures, particularly when diagnostic criteria were most severe. Recommendations are provided in light of the results to assist sport-specific mental health intervention development and implementation within athlete populations.