Authors: Laura M. Morris1, Danny Twilley2, Cara L. Sidman3, Hannah Adamczyk1, Zoe Gasell1, and Karly Plemmons1
1School of Health & Applied Human Sciences, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC, USA
2Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA
3College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA
Laura M. Morris, EdD
601 S. College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403
Laura M. Morris, EdD is an Assistant Professor of Recreation, Sport Leadership & Tourism Management at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her research interests include leisure behavior, recreation/leisure in relation to lifelong health and wellbeing, happiness/positive psychology, and recreational sport and college student development.
Danny Twilley, PhD is the Assistant Dean of Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative at West Virginia University. Research interests include outdoor recreation’s role in community development, leisure as a catalyst for change, and subjective wellbeing.
Cara L. Sidman, PhD is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Population Health in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University. Her research interests focus on wellbeing, online teaching, and college students.
Hannah Adamczyk is a recent graduate of the Recreation, Sport Leadership & Tourism Management program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Zoe Gasell is a recent graduate of the Recreation, Sport Leadership & Tourism Management program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Karly Plemmons is an undergraduate student in Recreation, Sport Leadership & Tourism Management at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Student-athletes: An exploration of subjective wellbeing
This research examined the subjective wellbeing scores of student-athletes at a mid-sized National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Southeastern university. Understanding student-athlete mental health is a growing concern among the NCAA and intercollegiate athletics programs. Much of the literature examines the issue from a clinical perspective related to depression. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the subjective wellbeing of student-athletes at a NCAA Division I university by examining gender, in-season v. out-of-season, and team sport v. individual sports. Methods: A survey methodology was adopted to measure participant (N=109) perceptions of subjective wellbeing utilizing a valid subjective happiness scale. Results: Overall, participants indicated high levels of perceived happiness. In-season athletes, men, and team sport athletes scored highest. Conclusions: Research on student-athlete mental health has been inconsistent. Findings from this study were encouraging as student-athletes reported a high level of reported happiness. Application in Sports: This study provides insight into student-athletes’ wellbeing and mental health. Findings suggest additional programs and services focused on out-of-season student-athletes, women, and those in individual sports be considered.