Date of Award

Summer 8-26-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology


Professional Psychology and Family Therapy


Minsun Lee, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Pamela Foley, Ph.D., ABPP

Committee Member

Edmund Adjapong, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sandra R. Ackerman Sinclair, Ph.D.


Black masculinity, student-athlete, intersectionality, socialization, double consciousness, help-seeking


A marginalized racial identity, a male gender identity, and an athletic identity have all been significantly linked to mental health seeking and attitudes. African American male collegiate student-athletes continue to use mental health resources at insufficient rates when compared to their White counterparts, even though they experience mental health impairment at comparative rates. The purpose of this study was to critically examine factors that contribute to the underutilization of mental health resources by African American collegiate NCAA DI student-athletes. At the intersection of race, gender, and athletic identity this study dives into the lived experiences of African American collegiate NCAA DI student-athletes at the systemic and individual level. A semi-structured interview was used to examine how the social construction of gender and race influenced the African American DI collegiate student-athletes’ formation of their athletic identity and their consequent understanding of mental health and related resources. A reflexive thematic analysis was used to identify subsequent codes and themes from the interview data. Reoccurring themes across the data suggest that an indivisible relationship between race and gender, an internalized need to dominate, and the internalization of mental health as an individual problem may contribute to the help-seeking attitudes of this sample. Findings support the need for further research examining how athletic identity is formed and how it contributes to the help-seeking attitudes and behaviors of African American collegiate student-athletes.