Vol 48 No 2 (2018)

Levels and Prevalence of Mental Health Functioning in Canadian University Student-Athletes

Krista J. Van Slingerland
PhD Candidate School of Human Kinetics University of Ottawa
Natalie Durand-Bush
Full Professor | Professeure titulaire School of Human Kinetics | École des sciences de l¹activité physique University of Ottawa | Université d¹Ottawa
Scott Rathwell
Assistant Professor The Faculty of Arts and Science Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education University of Lethbridge
Published August 31, 2018


We examined the level and prevalence of mental health functioning (MHF) in intercollegiate student-athletes from 30 Canadian universities, and the impact of time of year, gender, alcohol use, living situation, year of study, and type of sport on MHF. An online survey completed in November 2015 (N = 388) and March 2016 (n = 110) revealed that overall, MHF levels were moderate to high, and more student-athletes were flourishing than languishing. MHF levels did not significantly differ across time based on gender, alcohol use, living situation, year of study, and type of sport. Eighteen percent reported a previous mental illness diagnosis and yet maintained moderate MHF across time. These findings support Keyes’ (2002) dual-continua model, suggesting that the presence of mental illness does not automatically imply low levels of well-being and languishing. Nonetheless, those without a previous diagnosis were 3.18 times more likely to be flourishing at Time 1 (November 2015).



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