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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Human Development

First Advisor

Arthur-Cameselle, Jessyca

Second Advisor

Keeler, Linda

Third Advisor

Chalmers, Gordon R.


Researchers in occupational settings have found similarities in the symptomatology of workplace burnout and depression (Bianchi, Schonfeld, & Laurent, 2015). However, sport psychology researchers have stated that sport burnout and depression are separate constructs (Cresswell & Eklund, 2006). The purpose of the current study was to investigate the relationship between burnout and depression to help determine if their symptoms are indeed distinct, or if they potentially overlap. An additional purpose was to assess gender differences. At present, there are no studies examining the relationship between burnout and depression in an intercollegiate athlete sample. Participants were 422 intercollegiate athletes from all divisions of the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA. Athletes completed an anonymous online survey consisting of the Athlete Burnout Questionnaire (ABQ; Raedeke & Smith, 2001), the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS; Zung, 1965), and two symptom checklists designed for this study. Results revealed a strong, statistically significant positive correlation (r = .600) between total burnout and depression scores. Moreover, each subscale of the ABQ was statistically significantly correlated to total depression scores. The correlation between burnout and depression was stronger in female athletes compared to male athletes; however, this difference was not statistically significant. Sixty-six percent of the sample reported having experienced what they defined as burnout from sport. Of this subsample, forty-seven percent reported that while “burned out,” they experienced five or more Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V, American Psychiatric Association, 2013) symptoms of depression, with at least one being a depressed mood or loss of interest. The current study demonstrates there is a strong relationship between sport burnout and depression in intercollegiate athletes, indicating a possible overlap in symptoms. Thus, the findings suggest that the two constructs may be more similar than previously understood. Further, an increased understanding of the relationship between burnout and depression in sport may assist with prevention or screening, as well as contribute to more substantial treatment for burned out athletes.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

College athletes--Psychological aspects; College athletes--Sex differences--Psychological aspects; Burn out (Psychology); Burn out (Psychology)--Sex differences; Depression, Mental; Depression, Mental--Sex differences




masters theses




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