College is already considered an at-risk period for the development of mental illness, however a number of studies have suggested that certain stressors may increase student athlete’s vulnerability to depression. Despite this, research into the actual prevalence rate of depression among this population is thin. This study, therefore, aimed to determine an overall prevalence rate for depression symptoms among NCAA Division I collegiate athletes. It was also designed to assess various risk-factors that may increase an athlete's vulnerability to depression such as sex, academic class, scholarship level, sport season status and history of injury. Due to the lack of any required mental health education in college athletics, athletes were also asked questions regarding their opinion of current mental health services within their athletic program. Using a sample of 950 Division I student athletes it was found that 33.2% of athletes experienced symptoms of depression, contradicting findings from previous studies that have suggested a prevalence rate lower than the general college population (approximately 30%). Female athletes ( p =. 00), underclassmen (p = .01), and in-season athletes (p = .05), were all found to experience higher rates of depression symptoms than other athletes. Similarly, athletes who suffered an injury in the previous 6 months (p = .05) experienced more severe depression symptoms than healthy athletes. Missing practice or competition due to injury was also shown to increase depression symptoms ( p = .00) compared to athletes who were able to continue their activity. It was found that 25.7% of athletes did not know how or where to access mental health treatment at their university, and 44.5% had received no mental health education from their athletic department. The results from this study suggest that depression is a more significant issue in college athletics than previously thought, and highlights the need for continued improvements to be made in both the understanding of mental health issues in college athletics, and the services that are provided to athletes.
|Commitee:||Cluphf, David, Lox, Curt|
|School:||Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville|
|Department:||Kinesiology and Health Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 54/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Kinesiology, Psychology, Health education|
|Keywords:||Athletes, Colleges, Depression, Risk factors|
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