Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Bradley Donohue

Second Committee Member

Daniel Allen

Third Committee Member

Michelle Paul

Fourth Committee Member

Jennifer Pharr

Number of Pages



Depression and anxiety are prevalent mental health difficulties affecting student athletes, who notoriously reject mental health interventions that are not sport-relevant. This study will assist in understanding the extent to which sport-relevant thoughts and emotions impact depression and anxiety in collegiate athletes. Two-hundred and twenty-five NCAA athletes competing at the Division, I, II, or III level were administered the Sport Interference Checklist (SIC), Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS), Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7), and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). Results of correlational analyses revealed a significant relationship between SIC Dysfunctional Thinking (in training and competition) and anxiety (GAD-7) and depressive (PHQ-9) symptoms, and a significant relationship between TOPS Emotional Control (in competition only) and anxiety and depressive symptoms. Regression analyses indicated that SIC Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in training and competition significantly predicted anxiety and depressive symptoms; TOPS Emotional Control and TOPS Self-talk did not. A mediational model tested the hypothesis that SIC Dysfunctional Thoughts and Stress in competition mediated the relationship between TOPS Emotional Control and anxiety/depressive symptoms. This hypothesis was supported in the mediational models. Both sport-relevant emotions and thoughts impact depressive and anxiety symptoms in student-

athletes, but dysfunctional thinking accounts for the majority of this relationship. These findings suggest targeting dysfunctional thoughts and emotions pertinent to sport may have far reaching positive effects in overall mental health, and future intervention studies should test this hypothesis. It is recommended that future studies be conducted to examine whether other sport- relevant constructs, such as environmental or relationship factors, impact the general mental health of student-athletes.


Anxiety; Athlete mental health; Depression; Dysfunctional cognitions; Emotion regulation


Clinical Psychology

File Format


File Size

649 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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