Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Exercise Science

First Advisor

Toni M. Torres-McGehee


Mental health in student-athletes has been a subject of discussion in the recent past. Historically, student-athletes have been thought to be immune to mental health disorders. Researchers have examined the prevalence of common mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety and through the previous efforts, and it has been determined student-athletes are at nearly the same risk as regular college students. Even with increased attention to mental health disorders, prevention programs designed to educate studentathletes, coaches, and athletic trainers, the prevalence rates of depression and anxiety in student-athletes have not improved. Therefore, the purpose of these papers was to examine the prevalence rates for depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem across student-athletes by sex, academic status, and sport type. Second, was to examine the effects of a four-week biofeedback intervention on psychological and performance variables. When examining the prevalence of depression and anxiety in student-athletes, the study found an overall prevalence rate of 22.3% for depression and 12.5% for anxiety. Results from the fourweek biofeedback intervention indicates no improvement for coherence, psychological or performance variables; however, the student-athlete participants reported positive benefits and effects from the intervention. While our pilot study was not statistically significant for improvement with psychological or performance variables, the student-athletes reported positive benefits from the intervention, indicating a biofeedback intervention could be beneficial for participants. The prevalence results illustrate the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety are still evident for student-athletes and future research efforts should continue to create mental health screenings and interventions to address these signs and symptoms.


© 2020, Samantha Rose Weber