Date of Award

Summer 6-1-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology




Pamela Foley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sandra R. Ackerman Sinclair, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Smith, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Rebecca R. Campón, Ph.D.


Retired, Athlete, Attitudes, Masculinity, Sport, Collision, Non-Collision, Race


Despite an increased risk of developing mental health difficulties, retired male college athletes are significantly less likely to seek mental health treatment than the general population. Results from previous studies suggest that the type of sport, race, and masculinity level of an athlete may contribute to more negative perceptions of help seeking. The purpose of this study was to fill gaps in the extant literature, raise awareness of stress associated with retirement from sport, and help identify those who may be most at risk for developing mental illness. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed to measure the differences in attitudes toward help seeking across type of sport and race, while controlling for the covariate of masculinity. The groups categorized by type of sport were labeled as “collision” (Hockey, football, lacrosse, ice hockey) and “non-collision,” (all other NCAA sanctioned sports), and the groups categorized by race were labeled as “White” and “People of Color” (POC). Results of the ANCOVA showed that masculinity did have a significant effect on attitudes toward help seeking in this group; however, type of sport and race did not have a significant impact. Reasons for the non-significant results may be related to the disparity in age among participants, lack of diversity among racial groups and type of sport, or the recent notoriety and advocacy for mental health and social justice in the sports community. The findings from this study suggest that earlier intervention and more proactive discussions about masculinity risk factors will be important in identifying players who may be at risk and normalizing help seeking for athletes struggling with mental illness. Findings also support the need for further research examining help seeking differences between various sports and racial groups, in order to gain a clearer depiction of the impact these variables may have on the mental health of a retired male college athlete.