College athletes stress menagement education effectively utilizing social support

Por: Hironobu Tsuchiya.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction

College athletes encounter various types of stressors, both competitively and academically. Previous surveys revealed that social support (SS) had a buffering effect on competitive stress and that stress management education (STM) was needed for successful use of this support [1]. In this study an original STM program that uses a SS network map was provided to college athletes in order to assess the impact of this program on their mental health.

Methods

A total of 173 student athletes (120 males and 53 females, age=20) were randomly divided into an STM Group and a Control Group. The STM Group participated in an original STM lecture and practice program. The lectures outlined basic concepts and in practice session students were required to construct an SS network map [2] depicting a mental rehearsal of how they predicted they would cope with stress. At the end of the course, they submitted written evaluations of the program. The Control Group did not participate in this program. The University Stress Responses Inventory [2] to measure mental health was conducted at the beginning (Pre) and end (Post) of the semester.

Results

The STM Group evaluations were separated into either "Understanding of the STM concept," "Interest in Personal Relationships," or "Confidence in Coping with Stress" to confirm whether they understood the program’s objective. The stress response scores were analyzed by a 2 (groups) × 2 (Phase) mixed-model analysis of variance, and yielded a significant interaction showing that STM program contributed to improving males’ mental health (p<.05). For females, the only main effect was significant and the scores at Post were higher than scores at Pre in both groups (p<.05).

Discussion / Conclusions

In the evaluations submitted by subjects of the STM Group, students commented that they acquired deeper understanding of the stress process and gained more confidence in coping with it. In future in competitive games, they are expected to apply SS in coping with stress [2]. The STM program proved effective in maintaining a high level of

mental health among males but among females of both groups mental health deteriorated. This would result from the stressor connected with the difficulty of finding employment for female graduates adding to competition stressors. Therefore future study is required in order to create a program that is even more effective.

 

References

[1]. Tsuchiya H. (1996). Proceedings of International Conference on Stress Management Education, 1828.

[2]. Tsuchiya H. Nakagomi S. (1998). Japan Journal of Physical Education, 42, 349-362.

Note: This work was supported by MEXT. Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Kakenhi, No. 14780028).

 

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