Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Trevor Roiger


concussion, depression, mTBI, stress, TBI


CONTEXT: Concussions are all too prevalent in amongst athletes. Concussions make up almost 5 percent of all collegiate athletic injuries. Concussions have been linked with many long lasting effects including depression and increased stress or anxiety.

OBJECTIVE: To longitudinally examine post-concussion depression and stress levels in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 athletes.

DESIGN: Descriptive longitudinal study.

SETTING: National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I collegiate athletics.

PARTICIPANTS: Concussed and uninjured Division I collegiate athletes, ages 18-22, competing in football, women’s soccer, baseball, softball, and women’s track.

INTERVENTION(S): Participants completed the CES-D at baseline, 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months post-concussion and the PSS-14 at baseline and 1 month and 3 months post-concussion.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Baseline levels of depressive symptoms and perceived stress and differences between participants with and without a history of concussive injury were assessed. Longitudinal changes in depression and perceived stress and the association between these constructs were measured as well.

RESULTS: There were no differences in baseline depressive and stress symptomology between those who had 1 or more previous concussions and those with no history of physician-diagnosed concussions. Depressive symptoms rose significantly one week post-concussion baseline and controls. Depressive symptoms returned to baseline levels by one month. There were no differences in perceived stress at any point. There was also no association between participants perceived stress and depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Concussive injuries can lead to elevated depressive symptoms in Division I athletes. Concussed athletes’ mental health should be monitored following a concussion and referral to a specialist made if warranted. Assessment tools such as the CES-D and PSS-14 can be helpful in monitoring the wellbeing of the athlete. KEY WORDS: depression, stress, anxiety, concussion, CES-D, PSS-14, student-athlete

Library of Congress Subject Headings

College athletes -- Psychology

Brain -- Concussion

Depression, Mental

Stress (Psychology)

Sports injuries

National Collegiate Athletic Association. Division I


Includes bibliographical references (page 29-37)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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