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.
Brad Donohue, Yulia Gavrilova, Marina Galante, Elena Gavrilova, Travis Loughran, Jesse Scott, Graig Chow, Christopher P. Plant and Daniel N. Allen
Bradley Donohue, Marina Galante, Julia Maietta, Bern Lee, Nina Paul, Joanne E. Perry, Arianna Corey and Daniel N. Allen
The conspicuous absence of validated screening measures specific to mental health symptomology in collegiate athletes has negatively affected clinical practice in this population. Therefore, this study was performed to develop a sport specific measure to optimally identify collegiate athletes who are particularly likely to benefit from mental health programming. Participants were 289 collegiate-athletes who were assessed for mental health symptomology using the Global Severity Index of Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (GSI), factors that interfere with sport performance using the Problems in Sport Competition Scale (PSCS) and Problems in Sport Training Scale (PSTS), and motivation to pursue professional counseling using the Desire to Pursue Sport Psychology Scale (DSPS). As hypothesized, a hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that PSCS, PSTS and DSPS scores significantly predicted GSI scores, controlling gender and sport status (NCAA, club, intramural). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis indicated that high-risk athletes (GSI T-scores ≥ 60) could be correctly classified by PSTS and PSCS scores. Results suggest the PSCS and PSTS may assist identification of collegiate athletes who are especially appropriate for mental health programs. These scales additionally identify factors directly relevant to athletes’ sport performance.