The role of mental health symptoms & psychosocial factors in predicting help-seeking behaviors among collegiate student athletes

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily R. Beamon (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
David Wyrick

Abstract: Collegiate student-athletes experience a number of unique stressors that put them at risk for developing mental illness. Mental health research conducted with student-athletes typically examines constructs like resilience and toughness, and not the psychological symptoms that the athletes may have. In order to improve psychological help-seeking behaviors, we must first understand what the student-athletes are going through. The overall purpose of the present study is to investigate student-athlete mental health, and psychological and psychosocial factors that predict help-seeking attitudes. This study addresses two aims: (1) To examine the presence of latent profiles among student-athletes on five observed variables, to examine demographic and sport-related characteristics that predict these profiles, and to determine if these mental health symptomology profiles predict the distal outcome of help-seeking attitudes; and (2) to examine the association of psychosocial factors of athlete identity, mental illness stigma, mental health resources, and conformity to masculine norms in predicting help-seeking attitudes. This study utilizes secondary data from the 2018-2019 survey of collegiate student-athletes who have engaged with myPlaybook educational modules. A latent profile analysis was conducted and found five latent profiles of mental health symptomology, representing various severity levels of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, alcohol use, and drug use. Findings also suggested that the profiles with the least symptoms predicted the most positive attitudes toward psychological help-seeking, whereas the profile with the greatest internalizing symptoms predicted the most negative help-seeking attitudes. Our second study found significant, negative relationships between athlete identity, mental illness stigma, and conformity to masculine norms with psychological help-seeking. Past research with collegiate student-athletes fail to see the complexity of these individuals and often do not consider simultaneous characteristics when predicting health outcomes. The results of these two studies indicate the need for a shift in narrative within the world of collegiate sports to become one that is supportive and promotes psychological care and wellbeing.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2022
Help-Seeking, Latent Profile Analysis, Mental Health, Student-Athletes
College athletes $x Mental health
College athletes $x Psychology
Help-seeking behavior

Email this document to