Difference in sleep and mental distress between in-season and out of season university athletes


According to OCHA (2009), university students are more than twice as likely to report mental health concerns than non-university students. It has been found that university student-athletes have substantially higher levels of mental distress than student non-athletes in Canada (Sullivan et al., 2017). The stage of year (i.e., in-season, out of season) has been demonstrated to have a significant effect on student-athlete behavior (Scott et al., 2008). Furthermore, evidence suggests that 46.5% of student-athletes had sleep disorders (Monma et al., 2017), and sleep quality and mental distress have been found to be interrelated (Joao, Becker, de Neves Jesus, 2016). The current study extended this literature by examining differences in mental well-being and sleep between student athletes who are in season and those who are not. A sample of 60 student-athletes, 30 in-season (27 females ; 3 males) and 30 out of season (6 females ; 24 males) completed the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Comparisons between stages of season were conducted using t-test for K6 scores and Mann-Whitney U on the PSQI scores, because they are ordinal variables. All results were insignificant, indicating that there were no differences between in-season and out of season student-athletes on their perceived levels of mental distress and the quantity and quality of their sleep. Although future research is needed on mental health in this population, it appears that time of season may not be a relevant factor.