Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type



College of Nursing

Director of Thesis

Dr. Allison Sweeney

First Reader

Dr. Christine Pellegrini

Second Reader

Dr. Christine Pellegrini


This research aimed to explore how the mental status of student athletes at the University of South Carolina has been affected by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 61 student athletes between the ages of 17 and 24 participated in the study and completed a series of questions including the Depression-Anxiety-Stress Scale 21 (DASS-21) and the Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ). Independent samples t-tests and descriptive analyses were used for comparisons between gender and age. The results showed that female athletes reported statistically significantly higher levels of anxiety and stress than male athletes (p = 0.049 and p = 0.02) and upperclassmen athletes reported statistically significantly higher levels of anxiety than underclassmen athletes (p = 0.01). However, team cohesion was not significantly different between men and women or upper and underclassmen. Students also reported that COVID-19 has negatively affected their well-being and most student athletes feel very disconnected to other students at the university besides their teammates. Implications for the future include finding ways to improve the mental health of women and upperclassmen as well as conducting more research to find out if mental health rates differ between athletes at other universities and between those who did/did not test positive for COVID-19.

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