Mental health screening as a part of collegiate athletic pre-participation evaluations is becoming increasingly common, but effective and efficient screening is dependent upon a screening tool that can accurately identify mental health symptomatology and the need for mental health intervention.
Archival clinical records review
Two cohorts of incoming NCAA Division 1 collegiate athletes (N= 353)
Athletes completed Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms (CCAPS) Screen as a part of their pre-participation evaluation. This data was then matched with basic demographic data and mental health treatment history from clinical records and the utility of the CCAPS Screen in determining future or ongoing need for mental health services was analyzed.
Score differences for each of the 8 CCAPS Screen scales (depression, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, academic distress, eating concerns, frustration, family distress, and alcohol use) were found based on several demographic variables. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that female gender, team sport participation , and the Generalized Anxiety scale was predictive of participating in mental health treatment. Decision tree testing of the CCAPS scales showed low utility in classifying those who received mental health treatment vs those who did not.
The CCAPS Screen did not appear to differentiate well between those who eventually received mental health services and those who did not. This should not be taken to mean that mental health screening is not useful, but rather that a 1 time-state based screening is not sufficient with athletes that experience intermittent, but recurring stressors in a dynamic environment. A proposed model for improving the current standard of practice for mental health screening is provided as a focus of future research.