Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Bradley Donohue

Second Committee Member

Kimberly Barchard

Third Committee Member

Rachel Robnett

Fourth Committee Member

Nancy Lough

Number of Pages



Demographic changes in the United States during the past century and recognition of the importance of diversity have increased interest in research involving ethno-cultural factors that impact mental health. For example, important psychological constructs, such as self-concept and ethnic identity, have been indicated to develop within cultural context and impact psychological wellbeing (Brittian et al., 2013). The field of psychology, as a whole, is evaluating the merits of etic and emic approaches to research and clinical practice while exploring the importance and application of multicultural counseling/therapy (MCT; Sue & Sue, 2013). In contrast, within sport psychology, the influence of ethnic culture on athletes is relatively understudied. To address this gap in the current literature, the current study explored the relationship between problems attributed to ethnic and athletic culture, the importance of cultural background, and mental health in athlete populations. The present study was aimed to expand understanding of how problems perceived to be due to ethnic and athletic background impact mental health and relationships in collegiate athletes. In addition, this study was conducted to determine if perceiving ethnic and athletic culture as important protects athletes from perceiving problems due to their cultural background.

Correlational analyses were conducted to determine if significant positive associations between problems attributed to ethnic culture and 1) interpersonal difficulties and 2) mental health exist in collegiate athletes. In addition, it was hypothesized that reported problems attributed to athletic culture would be positively associated with mental health complaints and interpersonal difficulties. The hypotheses were partially confirmed. Problems attributed to ethnic culture were associated with relationship problems, but not mental health symptoms. Problems attributed to athletic culture were associated with both relationship problems and mental health symptoms. Self-reported importance of culture (both ethnic and athletic) were positively related to experience of problems attributed to ethnic and athletic culture. Self-reported importance of one’s culture was not a significant moderator of relationships between perception of problems attributed to culture and problems with mental health or relationships. Future directions, limitations, and interpretations are reviewed.


Athletes; Culture; Mental health; Sport Psychology



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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