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Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Department of Health Sciences
Katherine Ott Walter
Depression and anxiety are disabling conditions that are particularly prevalent amongst young adults (Wolanin, Hong, Marks, Panchoo, & Gross, 2016). Student athletes must cope with extensive time demands that go beyond those of ordinary young adults, consequently putting them at increased risk to experiencing mental health issues. Numerous factors may influence an athlete’s well being, such as gender, injury, and type of sport. This study tests these various factors but also extends previous literature by analyzing the effects of team dynamics on student athlete mental health. An anonymous multi-part questionnaire was sent out to all JMU athletes in the Fall of 2017. Chi square statistical tests were used to determine whether there was a mathematical association between team characteristics and the presence or absence of mental health symptoms. There was a significant correlation between ‘pressure’ and anxiety (X2 = 13.403, p = .009). In addition, ‘inability to trust teammates’ and ‘not sharing goals of personal improvement’ also contributed to increased levels of anxiety. There was a significant correlation between serious injuries and depression (X2 = 4.325, p = .038). Lack of time for social life and inability to effectively manage conflicts within the team both contributed to increased levels of depression as well. Fortunately, the data showed that JMU’s student athletes had higher mental health scores than American college students as a whole, according to prior research, and they do feel as though the resources available to them are adequate.
Owens, Dylan, "Exploring the Relationship between Team Characteristics and Mental Health Symptoms amongst Student Athletes" (2018). Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current. 603.