Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Tammy Kolbe


The purpose of this study was to develop a better understanding of college coaches’ experiences with student-athlete mental health concerns, knowledge to address these concerns, and dispositions and attitudes toward student-athlete mental health. Although student-athlete mental health has been the subject of previous research, this is the first study to ask college coaches their perspectives on the topic. Data for the study were collected using a Web-based survey with a sample of college athletic coaches who coach male and female student athletes at Division I athletic programs in the Northeastern United States. The study’s findings confirm coaches’ concern and care for their student-athletes who experience mental health issues, and that coaches agree that their coaching role should include helping student-athletes who experience challenges. Coaches frequently and increasingly encounter student-athlete mental health issues and are actively engaged in helping to mitigate these issues. Coaches for women’s athletic teams encountered student athletes with mental health disorders more frequently and experienced higher rates of stress related to student-athlete mental health than coaches for men’s teams. Coaches reported high levels of stress and want more institutional support and an embedded mental health counselor within their athletic department. Overall, coaches embrace their roles as first responders to student-athletes struggling with complex mental health issues.



Number of Pages

133 p.