Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Counselor Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

A. Stephen Lenz

Second Advisor

Richard Balkin

Third Advisor

Kenya Bledsoe

Relational Format



Student athletes experience unique demands that create specific mental health challenges, yet they tend to utilize mental health services at lower rates when compared to the general student population. Participants were 282 (174 males, 108 females) current NCAA student athletes. A mediated regression was used to determine the mediating effects of Mental Health Stigma (MHS) and Mental Health Literacy (MHL) on the relationship between Mental Health Status and Psychological Help Seeking Behavior (PHS). Results indicated a statistically significant relationship between mental health status and psychological help seeking behavior, R2 = .05, F(1, 280) = 13.74, p < .001. Mental health status predicted PHS (? = -.22, 95% CI [-.11, -.04]). A multiple regression analysis was conducted on PHS based on MHS and MHL, F(2,279) = 9.49, p < .001. MHS was a statistically significant predictor of PHS uniquely accounting for approximately 4.2% of the variance. MHL was not significant and uniquely accounted for .1% of the variance. Analysis of a supported mediation model was conducted using MHS as the single mediator. Controlling for the mediator, the direct effect indicated by the relationship between mental health status and PHS, (? = -.046, 95% CI [-.094, .007], z = -2.04, p = .04), denoting a partial mediation and small effect. The total indirect effects with the mediator was statistically significant, (? = -.028, 95% CI ([-06, -.003]), z = -2.327, p = .02, indicating a moderate effect and accounting for 61% of the model effect. Results from this study can be used to inform program development, institutional supports, and inform further research into reduction of MHS and increasing MHL. Keywords: student athletes, mental health status, mental health stigma, mental health literacy, psychological help seeking behavior



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