An Exploration of Mental Health Literacy, Stigma, and Masculinity Among College Athletes and Their Non-Athlete Peers

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Mauldin, Andrew
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Middle Tennessee State University
Mental illness has been a growing concern amongst psychologist, epidemiologist, and physicians. Mental illness is a strong concern amongst college-students specifically collegiate athletes. Though mental illness is a growing concern, there are many safe, effective, and inexpensive treatments that are available. However, many collegiate athletes identify as struggling with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, however, do not seek out professional help. Many psychologists and epidemiologist believe that this is due to the stigmatization of mental illness. Research suggest that stigmatization is related to a low mental-health literacy (MHL). While research suggest that men on average have a lower MHL score, they also report higher levels of stigma. There is a long history of research examining masculinity in sport. This current study examined the relationship between MHL, stigma, and masculinity in college students as well as student athletes. Through a survey methodology this study examined the correlation between the constructs of MHL, stigma, and masculinity. This study also conducted a Factor Analysis. Surveys were distributed to 150 college-students with 36 student athletes. There was a significant correlation between MHL, stigma, and masculinity in college-students as well as student-athletes (P<.001). Although there were no statistical differences in MHL, masculinity, or stigma between students and student-athletes. There were significant differences in regard to gender. Findings as well as practical implications for current and future researchers are suggested and discussed in this dissertation.
Masculinity, Mental health, Sport psychology, Stigma, Sports management, Physiological psychology, Mental health