Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Program/Concentration

Cathy Lau-Barraco

Committee Director

Abby Braitman

Committee Member

Kristin Heron

Abstract

Young adults are vulnerable to a range of mental health concerns and tend to drink in high quantities and tend to not seek help for these concerns. Specifically, college students involved in athletics tend to have low help-seeking rates—though help-seeking research for this population is relatively limited. Athletic identity (i.e., identification with the athlete role) is a relevant construct for examining this population, however little is known about its association with help-seeking beliefs and ideas. This study examines: (1) the association between athletic identity and help-seeking intentions for both mental health and alcohol use concerns, (2) the association between help-seeking intentions and facets of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; i.e., behavioral beliefs, normative beliefs, and control beliefs) for both mental health and alcohol use concerns, and (3) if athletic identity moderates the association between TPB facets and help-seeking intentions for both mental health and alcohol use concerns. Participants were 135 (49.6% male, 49.6% female) college drinkers (age: M = 21.95, SD = 2.01) who completed surveys regarding their athletic identity, drinking behaviors, and help-seeking beliefs for both mental health and alcohol use concerns. Using hierarchical multiple regressions, the associations between athletic identity, facets of TPB, and help-seeking intentions were analyzed. Findings revealed that athletic identity was associated with greater help-seeking intentions for both mental health and alcohol use concerns. Additionally, more positive normative beliefs, fewer barriers to help-seeking, and more positive attitudes were associated with greater help-seeking intentions for mental health and alcohol use concerns (though norm normative beliefs were most strongly associated in both cases). Lastly, athletic identity did not significantly moderate any of the facets of TPB. Therefore, the current study suggests that athletic identity can be a positive factor for seeking help for mental health and alcohol use concerns and that despite the culture of drinking among athletes, athlete identity does not appear to moderate the association between beliefs about help-seeking and help-seeking intentions. Future research may benefit from alternative measurement methods, or by attempting to replicate these findings to strengthen the foundation of literature in this limited field of research.

DOI

10.25777/jmyt-nq19

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