Understanding Gender Differences in Collegiate Student-Athletes’ Help-Seeking Behaviors and Attitudes toward Counseling

This study investigated specific factors that may impact attitudes and expectations about counseling by assessing athletic identity, attitudes toward help-seeking behavior, and expectations about counseling of 408 university student athletes. Participants were 414 athletes from a Northeastern university in the USA (M = 19.72, SD = 1.34). Measures were the Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale (ATSPPHS), the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS), and the Expectations about Counseling Questionnaire (EAC). Data indicated significant differences between males and females on the ATSPPHS (F(1, 404) = 40.47, p = .001); the AIMS, (F(1, 404) = 15.17, p = .001), and the EAC (F(1, 403) =13.05, p = .001). For both male ( = -0.205) and female ( = -0.232) student athletes, expectations about counseling were a significant predictor of attitudes toward counseling. However, athletic identity did not contribute significantly to the variability in attitude scores in this sample. Given these findings, it will be important for professional personnel addressing student athletes to consider presenting the information about counseling services in a gender-specific manner. In addition, it would be helpful for programming on counseling services for student athletes to address the counseling process and how one participates in counseling.

Student-Athletes’ Sense of Belonging: Background Characteristics, Student Involvement, and Campus Climate

The purpose of this article was to examine student-athletes’ experiences and perceptions of campus climate in relation to perceived sense of belonging on college campuses. We used data from the NCAA Growth, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Learning Survey (GOALS) to better understand student-athletes’ perceptions. The GOALS survey includes data on student-athletes’ academic, athletic, and social experiences; health and well-being; and time commitments. We employed a hierarchical blocked-regression analysis to determine the extent to which athletic identity, academic and social experiences, and perceptions of campus and team climates predict sense of belonging (after controlling for background characteristics). The major findings from the study indicate a negative relationship between athletic identity and sense of belonging. Further, students of color reported lower sense of belonging than their white counterparts. Of particular importance was the relationship between sense of belonging and institutional and team climates. Having a positive sense of climate on athletic teams positively influenced sense of belonging, particularly for student-athletes of color. This article concludes with implications for policy and practice.

Athletes’ Recollections of Inappropriate Behaviors by Their High School Sport Coaches

Bullying of students by other students has been an ongoing concern over many years. Many schools have initiated policies and trainings related to bullying in attempts to prevent and stop students from bullying. However, an area not yet well researched is the topic of bullying by teachers or coaches toward students, particularly those who are student-athletes. The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of former athletes in regards to the abusive actions of their former high school sport coaches. Participants for this study included 920 college students from universities located in nine states across the United States. Participants were equally divided by gender. Data were gathered via an online survey in which participants identified if their coaches had engaged in any of the twenty-four listed actions among three types of bullying (physical, relational, verbal). Participants identified whether these actions were directed toward them or if they had seen them being done to fellow athletes. The results indicated that the most frequently identified incidents for high school athletes were being embarrassed by their coaches in front of others, coaches poking fun at them, name calling without hurtful intent, dirty looks meant to hurt, and critical comments meant to hurt.