Depression Among Athletes and the Potential Impact on Performance
- Zella Moore, Zella MooreDepartment of Psychology, Manhattan College
- Jamie LeboffJamie LeboffDepartment of Psychology, Manhattan College
- and Kehana BonaguraKehana BonaguraDepartment of Psychology, Manhattan College
Major depressive disorder, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder are very common diagnoses seen among athletes, and they are serious conditions that can be debilitating if not properly addressed. These disorders warrant careful attention because they can adversely affect multiple domains of an athlete’s life, including athletic motivation, performance outcomes, interpersonal well-being, health, and overall daily functioning. Key foci include the prevalence of, clinical characteristics of, causes of, and risk factors for major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder/dysthymia, bipolar I disorder, and bipolar II disorder. Sport psychologists should integrate such important information into their overall case conceptualization and decision-making processes to ensure that athletes and performers at risk for, or struggling with, such mental health concerns receive the most effective, efficient, and timely care possible.