Psychology, Professional

Date of Paper/Work

Summer 7-8-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Salina Renninger


This study seeks to answer the following questions: (a) Is orthopedic injury among athletes associated with greater risk for mental health concerns? and (b) Does athletic identity and social support significantly impact the prevalence of mental health symptoms experienced by injured athletes? Three hundred and seventy-two competitive athletes (mean age of 25.8 (SD = 5.9) years, 83% White, 91% heterosexual, 83% assigned male at birth on their original birth certificate) completed an online survey which screened for depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (GAD-7), psychological distress (K-10), athletic identity (AIMS), and social support (SSQ6). The participants were separated into two groups, those who experienced an orthopedic injury in the past year that restricted them from participating in their sport for at least two weeks and those who did not experience an injury in the past year (individuals with concussions or traumatic brain injuries were excluded from both groups). This study found that injured athletes had more symptoms of depression t(276) = 10.1, p = .00, d = 1.17, anxiety t(289) = 3.81, p = .00, d =.44 and psychological distress t(251) = 3.64, p = .00, d = .45 than non-injured athletes. Among injured athletes, greater athletic identity was associated with greater symptoms of depression (r =.34, p < .01) and anxiety (r =.43, p < .01). Depression was significantly correlated with less satisfaction with social support from family (r = -.36, p < .01), coach (r = -.26, p < .01), and athletic trainer (r = -.29, p < .01) . Similarly, anxiety was significantly correlated with less satisfaction with family (r = -.26, p < .01), coach (r = -.37, p < .01), athletic trainer (r = -.34, p < .01), physician (r = -.26, p < .05), and counselor (r = -.25, p < .05). This study identifies athletes with orthopedic injuries as a potentially at-risk athlete subpopulation for mental health concerns. Additionally, athletic identity and satisfaction with social support from within and outside of the world of sport have been identified as potential risk and protective factors.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.