Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Lee Weidauer


The purpose of this study was to improve the effectiveness of mental health screening forms that are used during the preparticipation physical exam, or PPE, process and to help start a discuss about the need for further mental health resources. This study aimed to look at the prevalence of mental illness being reported at a Division I Institution and whether we are receiving consistent answers across various forms. We pulled the data from all 750 student-athletes that competed during the 2017-18 academic year at South Dakota State University (SDSU) and looked specifically at their answers on the PHQ-9, GAD-7, and mental health section of the health history form. We first analyzed the prevalence of yes answers on the mental health section of the health history form and then performed a chi2 test of proportions to look for any significant differences among gender. We then looked at the severity of scores being reported on the PHQ-9 and GAD- 7, and finally we compared the answers given to nine pairs of similar questions on different forms to look for inconsistencies among answers. We found the prevalence rate of mental illness to be roughly 8.5% and we also found that half of the questions analyzed on the health history form showed significant differences among gender. The analysis of the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scores did not show any significant differences between gender, but it did show a discrepancy in the overall prevalence rate of mental illness when compared to the health history form. Finally, we found that four of the nine pairs of questions analyzed had a low sensitivity value, while five of them had high sensitivity and specificity values. These low and inconsistent values make it very hard for clinicians to fully understand the full scope of mental illness among their student-athletes and makes it hard to show the need for further mental health resources for this population. Future research should focus on attaining more honest and accurate reporting of mental illness symptoms to help show the true prevalence rate among this population in order to get them the help that they deserve.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

College athletes -- Mental health.
College athletes -- Mental health -- Testing -- Evaluation.
College sports -- Psychological aspects -- Testing.
South Dakota State University.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright