Elite athletes more likely to experience mental health disor
A new study by University of Toronto research suggests that elite athletes experience mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders far more frequently than most people realize.

Investigator recently published a paper in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise that explores the prevalence of symptoms of common mental disorders among elite Canadian athletes.

She found that as many as 41.4 percent of Canadian national team athletes—those training for Tokyo 2020—met the cut-off criteria as proposed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) for depression, anxiety, and/or an eating disorder. That's compared to an estimated 10 percent of Canadians in general who report a mental disorder in a given 12 month period, according to the study.

Specifically, 31.7 percent of athletes reported symptoms of depression, 18.8 percent reported symptoms of moderate (12.9 percent) to severe (5.9 percent) general anxiety, and 8.6 percent reported scores indicating a high risk of an eating disorder.

The study also revealed that having competed in a previous Olympic/Paralympic Games was negatively correlated with symptoms of an eating disorder and that having been selected to attend the 2020 Games at the time of the survey in late 2019 was positively correlated with symptoms of depression.

Another unexpected finding was that athletes who had made the Olympic team had more symptoms of depression prior to the Games.

In particular, stress, social support, coping skills, and self-esteem were all found to have an impact on the athletes' mental health.

Source: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2021.102018