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  • Author: Johanna Belz x
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Johanna Belz, Jens Kleinert, Jeannine Ohlert, Thea Rau and Marc Allroggen

Adolescence is a vulnerable period for the development of depression. Research on depression in athletes including adolescent athletes, however, is scarce. The purpose of the present study was to assess the risk for depression depending on the athletes’ age, gender, and performance level. Data were collected from 1,799 German national and state team athletes. The PHQ-2 and the WHO-5 were administered to assess the athletes’ risk for depression and current state of psychological well-being. Overall, 13% of the athletes were screened positive for depression and 10% for impaired well-being. Adolescents, females and athletes of junior national teams showed a higher risk for depression and/or lower well-being than other subgroups. The finding that adolescent athletes are more vulnerable to suffer from depressive symptoms than adult athletes mirrors finding in the general population. Screening tools for depression should be followed up by clinical expert interviews to provide an external criterion for the obtained results.

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Jahan Heidari, Johanna Belz, Monika Hasenbring, Jens Kleinert, Claudia Levenig and Michael Kellmann

Context: Explanatory approaches for back pain (BP) in athletes focus on biomechanical factors while neglecting psychological perspectives. Psychological factors have gained importance in the prediction of injuries in athletes and BP in the general population, with stress and recovery emerging as central risk factors. However, scarce evidence exists regarding the role of these aspects for the prevalent burden of BP. Objective: To investigate the association between stress and recovery parameters and the presence of BP. Design: Cross-sectional design. Setting: The questionnaires were distributed after the training sessions. Participants: A total of 345 competitive athletes (mean age = 18.31 y [SD = 5.40]) were investigated. The classification of the athletes’ competitive status was based on performance level. Interventions: Data were collected using questionnaires for the assessment of stress, recovery, and BP. Main Outcome Measures: The authors performed a multiple logistic regression to obtain odds ratios for stress and recovery parameters with regard to the outcome variable BP status. Results: For stress, the dimension “overall stress” (odds ratio = 1.83; 95% confidence interval, 1.30–2.59; P = .001) and the scale “physical complaints” (odds ratio = 1.68; 95% confidence interval, 1.25–2.25; P = .001) of the general version of the Recovery-Stress Questionnaire resulted to be significantly associated with BP. None of the recovery-related scales displayed a statistically significant relationship with BP. Conclusion: The outcomes of this study imply a modest association between stress and the presence of BP in competitive athletes. Practitioners may take these findings into account regarding the conception of training and for monitoring purposes.