Term of Award

Summer 2021

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Brandonn Harris

Committee Member 1

Megan Byrd

Committee Member 2

Pamela Wells


The opportunity for coaches to play an important role in supporting student-athlete mental health has been increasingly identified (Biggin et al., 2017; Gulliver et al., 2013; Henrikson et al., 2020). Findings suggest that coaches have the potential to help identify athletes who may benefit from mental health services, as well as foster an environment supportive of mental health and help-seeking (Bapat et al., 2009; Bissett et al., 2020). Recommendations have been set forth regarding how coaches may best engage in their role of supporting mental health, however, the literature lacks evidence of what collegiate coaches are actually doing to support student-athlete mental health, what they perceive their role to be, and barriers they face in fulfilling that role. The present study used a generic qualitative approach to explore the experiences of nine National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I coaches in supporting student-athlete mental health. Coaches discussed engaging in a variety of supportive behaviors consistent with recommendations for coaches. However, it appears coaches may lack engagement in supportive behaviors that take place after a referral is made. Coaches perceived multiple roles in supporting student-athlete mental health and discussed a variety of barriers including lack of self-efficacy and insufficient resources. Results of this study can be used to inform future research aimed at designing mental health education resources for coaches.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material