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The mental health of elite athletes in developing nations of the greater Oceania region
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-10, 01:48 authored by DL Neumann, TM Piatkowski, Robyn MoffittRobyn Moffitt, CL Minahan
Objective: The mental health of elite athletes is reportedly similar to that of the general community, but there could be important differences across geographic regions and cultures. This study investigated the mental health and levels of psychological distress of elite athletes from developing nations in the Oceania region via a cross-sectional survey. Method: The survey assessed the mental health status, psychological distress, and help-seeking behaviours of athletes from 12 nations of the Oceania region who participated in the Gather, Adjust, Prepare, Sustain (GAPS) program. Results: A high proportion of athletes (84%) met cut-off criteria for at least one of the investigated mental health symptoms. Athletes reported being most likely to seek help from their mother, father, or coach. Furthermore, athletes who reported high psychological distress did not differ in anticipated help-seeking behaviour from athletes who reported low psychological distress. Conclusions: The findings suggest that mental health symptoms are prevalent among elite athletes from developing nations in the Oceania region. Psychological distress did not predict willingness to seek help, suggesting that education and support frameworks are needed to assist this vulnerable group. Piloting support programs in collaborative aid with nearby developed nations may be warranted and interventions may consider targeted mental health literacy resources and education.