Examining the framing of mental health in Division I student-athlete handbooks


  • David Cassilo University of Detroit Mercy
  • Jimmy Sanderson Texas Tech University




mental health, collegiate athletics, NCAA, framing


This study examined college athlete handbooks at 50 Division I institutions to understand how language focused on mental health was framed. Mental health is an important area of focus on college campuses, particularly for athletes due to increased demands as well as stigmas related to reporting. The researchers performed a framing analysis of college athlete handbooks during the 2020-21 academic year, focusing on all references to mental health, while also examining in detail specific sections devoted to mental health resources. The findings indicated that those specific sections provided supportive resources for college athletes, potentially eroding stigma surrounding the issue. However, some policies did connect support to athletic performance, thus diminishing the individual in the process. Additionally, a lack of reference to diversity and inclusivity may create barriers to mental health support. This research can provide a great resource for athletic departments focused on developing communication strategies to support athlete mental health.


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How to Cite

Cassilo, D., & Sanderson, J. (2024). Examining the framing of mental health in Division I student-athlete handbooks. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.17161/jis.v17i1.18608