Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Women college athletes-Psychology, College freshmen-Psychology, Stress (Psychology), College sports-Psychological aspects, Stress management in women, Emotions and cognition, Athletes, College, Sport, First year, Intercollegiate, Stressors, Emotional, Cognitive, Coping, Females, Women


This exploratory study was undertaken to investigate the ways that stressors from athletics may impact Division III female student-athletes emotional and cognitive states during their first year at college. Findings were compared to the experiences from various studentathletes from other divisions, assessing the extent to which they have coped and managed their stress. Data was collected from Division III female athletes at two all-women's colleges located in New England. With the help of five guided interview questions, narrative interviews were conducted with seven subjects who spoke about their first year experiences as a student-athlete. Interview questions were carefully designed to elicit both positive and negative emotional and cognitive implications experienced as a result from one's involvement with sport. Data was organized around themes that highlighted affect changes and/or atypical or remarkable experiences. Additionally, experiences that closely aligned with symptom checklists from the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) were also noted. Major findings of the study revealed that a majority of subjects experienced impaired emotional and cognitive states whose symptomology strongly resembled various diagnoses within the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Findings also suggest that most of these student-athletes opted to cope with their impairments in an adaptive and healthy fashion. In order to continue supporting adaptive and health coping strategies, clinicians may consider building stronger alliances with athletic department staff and coaches, whereby implementing both preventative and ongoing education and support for female student-athletes.




[iii], 59 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 44-51)