The impact of injury and physical pain on depressive symptoms in student athletes


*Corresponding author for this work

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The present study aimed to explore the prevalence rates of depressive symptoms among student athletes whilst assessing a possible link between injury, physical pain and elevated depressive symptoms. Comorbid state-trait anxiety was also of interest. Depression scores were measured using the CESD whereby state-trait anxiety were recorded by STAI. Following analysis of 111 participants, it was found that 51% of student athletes were displaying depressive symptoms. An independent samples t-test revealed that those displaying depressive symptoms reported significantly higher scores of physical pain, suggesting a possible link between pain and depressed mood. The same analysis technique found no difference in depression scores in those that reported injury in the past 12 months compared with participants with no injury history. However, non-injured student athletes displayed significantly higher state-anxiety scores, potentially due to continuing participation despite unrecognised overuse injuries. A strong positive correlation was established between CESD and STAI scores, providing further evidence for the comorbidity of depression and anxiety disorders.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport & Exercise Psychology Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Depression
  • anxiety
  • student athletes
  • comorbidity
  • injury
  • physical pain


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