This study examined the prevalence of psychological distress and well-being amongst elite athletes in the UK.
An online survey was emailed to 753 athletes within the English Institute of Sport. Response rate 52.3%. 371 participants (median age 25) completed measures of psychological distress and subjective well-being alongside demographics and sport-related variables.
High or very high psychological distress was reported by 23.7%. Poor subjective well-being was reported by 18.8%. Of those reporting psychological distress, 9% also reported good subjective well-being. The odds of psychological distress and poor well-being increased if the athlete was female (OR 2.03, distress; OR 2.00, poor well-being), currently injured or ill (OR 1.87; OR 1.93) or planning to retire (OR 4.74; OR 8.10). Likelihood of poor well-being increased if a non-podium athlete (OR 0.98). Paralympic sport athletes reported greater psychological distress than Olympic sport athletes (p = .040). Winter sport athletes reported higher psychological distress than summer sport athletes (p = .044). Overall mean score (17.9, SD 6.5) was indicative of a moderate level of psychological distress.
Mental health support plans should include regular athlete screening of both psychological distress and subjective well-being.
Leyland, Sandra D. Dr; Currie, Alan Prof; Board, Elizabeth Dr; Mistry, Amit D. Dr; Jaques, Rod Dr; and Ranson, Craig Dr
"A Survey of the Mental Health of UK Olympic and Paralympic Sport Athletes.,"
Journal of Athlete Development and Experience: Vol. 4:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/jade/vol4/iss2/3