The counseling needs of college student-athletes

Date of Completion

January 1997


Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Developmental




It has been estimated that approximately ten percent of American college student athletes suffer from problems appropriate for counseling interventions (Hinkle, 1994). The common type of intervention for the college student athlete is a combination of academic advising and tutorial programs. While helpful, these types of programs are limited in scope and address only the academic piece of the equation. Special programs for athletes should be established to provide a systematic method of evaluating the developmental stage of the students.^ In contrast to sport psychology, sport counseling's focus is on the athlete's development as an individual, including personal and clinical issues associated with sport performance (Hinkle, 1994). Effective models and strategies for the implementation of sport counseling are needed. Such models should include programming for time management, goal setting, anxiety management, and one-to-one counseling. These programs should involve collaboration between coaches, administration, faculty, counselors and those individuals to whom student athletes rely on for assistance; friends, family, and teammates.^ The sample consisted of 526 college student athletes from the United States. All respondents were from Division I, II or III institutions which participate in the NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills Program. The Help-Seeking Survey measured the respondents need for professional help and the perceptions that they have concerning help-seeking behaviors.^ The Help-Seeking Survey was pilot tested to ensure content and construct validity. The 184-item Help-Seeking Survey was finalized using the results of the pilot. Three research questions were posed. The research questions focused on the concerns of college student athletes regarding traditional counseling, problems that face college student athletes, where college student athletes seek help, and college student athletes' perceptions about help-seeking behaviors. Data was collected, analyzed, presented and discussed using frequency distributions, factor analysis, factor scores, and ANOVA's. The results indicated that while college student athletes tend not to seek help they report the need for professional counseling in the areas of time management, stress, burnout, fear of failure, anxiety, depression, and self-confidence/worth. ^