The experience of sexual violence is known to be associated with a higher risk for depression and reduced long-term well-being, but the association has not been determined in elite athletes. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to further our understanding of the consequences of sexual violence experiences in elite athletes and into the influence of the context of the incidents. In total, 1529 German elite athletes took part in an online survey. Results reveal that athletes who had experienced sexual violence indicated lower well-being and a higher risk for depression. Also, the context of the incidents did influence the sexual violence – well-being/risk for depression relationship. In addition to showing that elite athletes are a very vulnerable group for different forms of interpersonal violence, our results underpin the need for more preventive measures in the area of (elite) sport when it comes to the prevention of interpersonal violence.
Jeannine Ohlert, Thea Rau and Marc Allroggen
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.