The Dual Continuum Model of Mental Health: Investigating the Difficulties of Canadian University Student-Athletes


The Dual Continuum Model of Mental Health (DCM) classifies individuals, based on their mental health functioning and mental illness status, as completely mentally healthy (CMH), moderately mentally healthy (MMH), purely languishing (PL), purely mental illness (PML), and complete mental illness (CMI) (Keyes, 2005). The DCM has been shown to predict outcomes such as limitations of activities with daily living, and workdays lost or cutback in adults (Keyes, 2002). Post-secondary student-athletes are a unique population due to having the same educational demands as their non-athlete peers with the added workload associated with varsity sport (Egan, 2019). Sleep disorders and low academic achievement have been seen to be prevalent in university student-athletes (Hall et al., 2017; Ebert et al., 2018). This study investigates the relationship between the DCM classifications and difficulties with academics, sleep, intimate relationships, and other social relationships in Canadian university student-athletes. The ACHA’s NCHA 2019 Canadian Reference Group was analyzed. Chi Square tests revealed significant grouping differences across DCM classifications and difficulty with academics (p<.001), sleep (p<.001), intimate relationships (p<.001), and other social relationships (<.001). Post hoc chi squares revealed a trend (<.001) with CMI individuals being more likely to report difficulties with academics (84%), sleep (73%), intimate relationships (45%), and other social relationships (63%) than CMH individuals (37%, 18%, 21%, 14%). These results may inform how academic institutions can aid student-athletes more effectively; rather than treating mental illness, a focus should be put on promoting flourishing.