Mental health in German competitive athletes – prevalences and prevention programs

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Athletes have the same risk of suffering from mental disorders as non-athletes (Gorczynski et al., 2017) and are just as likely to express elevated depressive symptoms (Rice et al., 2016). It is, therefore, pertinent to assess factors associated with depression in competitive athletes. A study on N = 1,799 German competitive athletes investigated the risk for depression depending on the athletes’ age, gender and performance level via the screening tools PHQ-2 and WHO-5. Overall, 13% of the athletes were screened positive for depression. Adolescents, females and athletes of junior national teams showed a higher risk for depression than other subgroups.

The aforementioned standardised screening for depression is part of a physiological and psychological basic check-up for German adolescent athletes of national and state squads. In case of a positive screen for depression, the athlete is informed about the potential risk for depression by the German initiative MentalEmpowerment, and is offered alternative ways of handling the positive screening result, e.g. the consultation with a sport-psychological or sport-psychiatric expert. The network of MentalEmpowerment currently comprises 305 qualified partners from the fields of sport psychology, sport psychotherapy and sport psychiatry. MentalEmpowerment is also involved in further education programmes for athletes, coaches and sport psychologists to gain more knowledge about preventing mental health problems in competitive sport and strengthen athletes’ and coaches’ skills to cope with stress. Furthermore, MentalEmpowerment provides sport-psychological workshops in cooperation with the German initiative Forthcoming, MentalEmpowerment expands collaborations with European partners also dealing with mental health in competitive sport.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstract book : 15th European Congress of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Münster, Germany ; 15-20 July 2019
EditorsBernd Strauss, Barbara Halberschmidt, Till Utesch, Dennis Dreiskämper, Sebastian Brückner, Maike Tietjens, Vera Storm, Linda Schücker, Friederike Rosenfeld, Charlotte Raue, Stijn Mentzel, Meike Kolb, Lena Henning, Lena Busch
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationMünster
PublisherDepartment of Sport and Exercise Psychology, University of Muenster
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventFEPSAC 2019 - European Congress of Sport & Exercise Psychology: Building the future of sport & exercise psychology - Universität Münster, Münster, Germany
Duration: 15.07.201920.07.2019
Conference number: 15

ID: 4580436

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