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Mental health among Swedish elite athletes: Depression, overtraining, help seeking, and stigma
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

There is a general perception in the public that mental health problems scarcely exist among elite athletes. The aim of this thesis was to investigate mental health among Swedish elite athletes with a particular focus on depression, overtraining, help seeking and stigma. The sample consisted of 100 athletes; of these 32 % were male and 68 % female, 53 % team athletes and 47 % individual athletes representing 15 different sports. A cross-sectional research design using self-report measures examined variables associated with the mental health of athletes. Results showed the prevalence of depression in the sample was similar to that of the general population. Athletes who reported symptoms of overtraining also reported symptoms of depression. Depressed athletes showed significantly more symptoms of overtraining than non-depressed athletes. Athletes who reported greater symptoms of depression or overtraining also reported higher levels of stigma associated with the condition. In the sample 45 % of participants reported that it was unlikely or extremely unlikely that they would seek help for mental health problems. The results indicate that mental health problems among elite athletes do exist. Athletes that experience problems with their mental health also do not want to disclose these problems. The established relationship between depression and overtraining highlights the difficult in distinguishing between the concepts that may ultimately lead to misdiagnose and ineffective treatment of the symptoms. Sport specialization in health care is required in order to meet the needs of elite athletes.

Abstract [sv]

Det finns en allmän syn i samhället att psykisk ohälsa bland elitidrottare är väldigt ovanligt. Syftet med denna studie var att undersöka psykisk ohälsa bland svenska elitidrottare med fokus på depression, överträning, hjälpsökande och stigma. Urvalet bestod av 100 elitidrottare; av dessa var 32 % män och 68 % kvinnor, 53 % lagidrottare och 47 % individuella idrottare vilka representerade 15 olika idrotter. En tvärsnittsstudie genomfördes med hjälp av självskattningsformulär vilka undersökte variabler förknippade med elitidrottares psykiska hälsa. Resultaten visade en prevalens av depression bland elitidrottarna motsvarande den allmänna populationen. Elitidrottare som rapporterade symptom på överträning rapporterade även symptom på depression. Deprimerade elitidrottare hade signifikant fler symptom på överträning än icke-deprimerade elitidrottare. Elitidrottare som rapporterade fler symptom på depression eller överträning rapporterade även högre nivåer av stigma. I urvalet rapporterade 45 % av deltagarna att det var osannolikt eller extremt osannolikt att de skulle söka hjälp vid problem med psykisk ohälsa. Resultaten visar på att psykisk ohälsa bland elitidrottare existerar. Elitidrottare med psykisk ohälsa är obenägna att avslöja dessa problem för andra. Den påvisade relationen mellan depression och överträning visar på att det är svårt att skilja mellan dessa koncept vilket i förlängningen kan leda till feldiagnostisering av symptomen samt att fel behandlingsinsatser sätts in. För att möta behoven från elitidrottare bör hälso- och sjukvården erbjuda idrottsspecifik behandling. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 19 p.
Keyword [en]
Mental health, elite athletes, depression, overtraining, help seeking, stigma
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-135614OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-135614DiVA: diva2:1104265
Subject / course
Examensarbete i psykologi
Educational program
Masters Programme in Sports Psychology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-06-01 Created: 2017-05-31 Last updated: 2017-06-01Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • Other style
More styles
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  • de-DE
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  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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Output format
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