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Robert C. Hilliard, Lorenzo A. Redmond, and Jack C. Watson II

Although factors involved with help-seeking have been widely studied in the general college population, college student-athletes have received less attention. The purpose of this study was to examine the moderating role of self-compassion on the relationship between public and self-stigma, and how self-stigma was associated with attitudes toward seeking counseling. A sample of 243 student-athletes from NCAA Divisions I and III participated in the study. Using structural equation modeling, self-compassion was not found to moderate the relationship between public and self-stigma. However, public stigma was positively associated with self-stigma, and self-stigma was negatively associated with attitudes toward counseling. A multigroup analysis did not find differences between males and females for the model. The results of this study have implications for professionals who work with college student-athletes and suggest that efforts should aim to reduce stigma and examine alternative factors that might improve attitudes toward mental health help-seeking.

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Robert C. Hilliard, Lindsey Blom, Dorice Hankemeier, and Jocelyn Bolin


Athletic identity has been associated with rehabilitation overadherence in college athletes.


To explore which constructs of athletic identity predict rehabilitation overadherence, gauge athletes’ views of the most salient aspect of their athletic participation, and understand their perceptions of the reasons they adhere to their rehabilitation program.


Cross-sectional, mixed methods.


University athletic training clinics and online.


Currently injured college athletes (N = 80; 51 male, 29 female).

Main Outcome Measures:

Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS), Rehabilitation Overadherence Questionnaire (ROAQ), and 2 open-ended questions about athletic participation and rehabilitation adherence.


Higher levels of athletic identity were associated with higher levels of rehabilitation overadherence (r = .29, P = .009). Hierarchical multiple regression used on AIMS subscales to predict ROAQ subscales did not reveal a significant model for the subscale “ignore practitioner recommendations.” However, a significant model was revealed for the subscale “attempt an expedited rehabilitation,” F 5,73 = 2.56, P = .04, R 2 = .15. Negative affectivity was the only significant contribution to the equation (β = 0.33, t = 2.64, P = .01). Content analysis revealed that bodily benefits, sport participation, personal achievement, social relationships, and athlete status were perceived to be the most important aspects of being an athlete. The themes of returning to competition, general health, and relationship beliefs were identified as the major factors for adhering to a rehabilitation program.


Negative affectivity accounted for a significant but low amount of variance for rehabilitation overadherence, suggesting that athletic trainers should pay attention to personal variables such as athletic identity that might influence the rehabilitation process. Using the knowledge of why athletes adhere to their rehabilitation and what is most important to them about being an athlete, athletic trainers can use appropriate interventions to facilitate proper rehabilitation adherence.