Depressive symptoms in high-performance athletes and non-athletes: a comparative meta-analysis

Paul Filip Gorczynski, Melissa Coyle, Kass Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1105 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objective - To assess whether a difference exists in the prevalence of mild or more severe depressive symptoms between high-performance athletes and non-athletes.

Design - Comparative OR meta-analysis.

Data sources - We searched PsycINFO, PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus and Google Scholar, as well as the reference lists of reviews of mental health issues in high-performance athletes.

Eligibility - We included studies that compared high-performance athletes and non-athletes, included a validated measure of depressive symptoms and included the prevalence of individuals who indicated at least mild depressive symptoms.

Results - Five articles reporting data from 1545 high-performance athletes and 1811 non-athletes were examined. A comparative OR meta-analysis found high-performance athletes were no more likely than non-athletes to report mild or more severe depressive symptoms (OR=1.15, 95% CI=0.954 to 1.383, p=0.145). Male high-performance athletes (n=940) were no more likely than male non-athletes (n=605) to report mild or more severe depressive symptoms (OR=1.17, 95% CI=0.839 to 1.616, p=0.362). For females, high-performance athletes (n=948) were no more likely than non-athletes (n=605) to report mild or more severe depressive symptoms (OR=1.11, 95% CI=0.846 to 1.442, p=0.464). Overall, male high-performance athletes (n=874) were 52% less likely to report mild or more severe depressive symptoms than female high-performance athletes (n=705) (OR=0.48, 95% CI=0.369 to 0.621, p<0.001).
Summary/conclusions - High-performance athletes were just as likely as non-athletes to report depressive symptoms. Researchers need to move beyond self-report measures of depressive symptoms and examine the prevalence of clinically diagnosed depressive disorders in athletes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Early online date2 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 2 Mar 2017

Keywords

  • mental health
  • depressive symptons
  • elite athletes
  • meta analysis

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Depressive symptoms in high-performance athletes and non-athletes: a comparative meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this