Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Armando Barragan


While research regarding stigma in mental health can be found and studied with ease in today’s research, the specification on how stigma impacts the population of athletes is not as heavily researched. Through this research project the question of how stigma impacts an athlete’s willingness to receive mental health services was answered. There are not many athlete specific programs, services, or even questions on assessments for athletes in the field today. This study shows the ways athletes are impacted from mental health issues, and provide some light on ways stigma impacts these struggles. This was found through the use of a snowball sampling descriptive study using a cross sectional survey to determine the relationship between stigma and this population’s willingness to receive mental health services. This strategy was used to target current and past athletes over the age of 18 to assess their beliefs and perceptions about social workers, with a goal of seeing how these beliefs do or do not impact their ability to receive services. The findings in this study showed that while there was no direct correlation between stigma and a willingness to receive mental health services, there is still an existing problem with athletes not receiving the care they need for their mental health issues. The results of this study identify this issue and give a foundation for further research to follow. This information is needed to ensure this population is not ignored, and that the quality of care for them is up to standard in the future.