Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Athletic Training

Committee Chairperson

Lindsey Keenan, Ph.D., LAT, ATC

Committee Member

Daniel Baer, MS, LAT, ATC

Committee Member

Rachel Daltry, Psy. D.


Context: Most individuals diagnosed with depression first experience symptoms in their young adult years, putting college students at risk. Pain may be related to depression symptoms in the general population, and a positive relationship has been identified between depression symptoms and athletic identity. However, the relationship between depression symptoms, pain and athletic identity in current athletes has not been studied. Objective: To examine the relationship between depression symptoms, pain, and athletic identity in collegiate student-athletes. Design: Prospective repeated-measures cohort design. Setting: An NCAA Division II University. Participants: Ninety-one student-athletes provided consent to participate. Interventions: Participants completed three surveys electronically during preseason meetings. Measures included, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), Numeric Rating Scale (NRS), and the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS). These surveys were administered at three different points throughout the season. Main Outcome Measures: PHQ-9, AIMS and NRS total scores. Results: At each time point a significant, weak, positive correlation was found between PHQ-9 and NRS scores (Time 1, r=.304, p=.003), (Time 2, r=0.275, p=0.013), (Time 3, r=0.331, p=0.013). At Time 1, a significant, weak, positive correlation was found between PHQ-9 and AIMS scores (r=0.258, p=0.013). Significance was detected in depression overtime F(1.970, 137.917)= 7.755, p=.001), and a significant increase in NRS scores overtime (F(1.947, 136.279)=3.14, p=.048). Conclusion: Our data supports that student-athletes experiencing pain may experience depression symptoms, and those with a high athletic identity may experience depression symptoms. Sports medicine professionals should screen student-athletes for depression symptoms, especially those experiencing pain and identify strongly with the athletic role.