Masters of Education in Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies Graduate Projects


Mental health issues in student athlete populations is something that is gaining attention from the NCAA and mental health professionals. The mental health resources provided by athletic departments is not consistent across the 351 NCAA Division I universities nor mandated by the NCAA. The purpose of this study was to examine whether student athletes at a Division I university knew what their mental health resources were; if they felt that mental health was an issue that affected their team and to improve our understanding of why student athletes aren’t seeking help. 10 participants were recruited through the athletic department at a Division I NCAA university. The participants were female cross-country runners with a median age of 20.4 and the head coach. Qualitative data was collected using in-person interviews that were conducted with each of the women and the coach. A hierarchical content analysis was used to code the interviews and major themes were found using inductive and deductive elements. The 10 interviews were transcribed and coded to find 15 raw data themes that were coalesced into 9 sub-themes. These 9 subthemes fell under three major categories. The three major categories that emerged were; the importance of physical performance, awareness of mental health and the resources and relationships with the athletic department faculty. The results showed that two of the ten athletes interviewed knew what their resources were and who to contact in case they were experiencing mental health issues. These results are similar to the limited studies done in this area of research. The athletes also believed that anxiety, eating disorders and stress were the main issues affecting their team. The findings indicated that relationships played a major role in how comfortable athletes were with disclosing mental health issues.


Ray Schneider

Second Reader

Amanda Paule-Koba








Sport Administration