Patient's mental health has been recognized as important to providing patient-centered care in athletic training.1 Further, the Stress-Injury Model indicates there are three inter-related categories of antecedents to injury risk: stress, personality, and coping.2 Given that identification of mental health issues and injury prevention are within the scope of athletic training practice, this research examines these three categories of stress (including sport anxiety), personality (specifically neuroticism), and coping.


The current study examined stress, sport anxiety, neuroticism, and coping in student-athletes.


Cross-Sectional Study


University athletics

Patients or Other Participants

The sample was comprised of 86 student-athletes competing at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Perceived Stress Scale,17 Sport Anxiety Scale - 2,20 Neuroticism scale of the Big Five Inventory,22 and Brief COPE24 were used to measure stress, sport anxiety, neuroticism, and coping, respectively.


Results from Pearson correlations indicated that sport anxiety was positively related to stress (r = .446, p < .001) and neuroticism (r = .311, p <.01) and not related to emotion-focused coping, (r=.2770, p = .804). Regression analyses yielded results suggesting that neuroticism was a negative predictor of emotion-focused coping (b = −.373, p <.001), and sport anxiety and stress were predictors of dysfunctional coping (b = .120, p <.05; b = .037, p < .05). Stress, sport anxiety, and neuroticism were not found to be predictors of problem-focused coping.


Results demonstrate support for the relationship between stress, sport anxiety, neuroticism, and coping in NCAA Division III student-athletes. Such results warrant future exploration to inform behavioral interventions targeting student-athlete psychosocial factors in order to promote improved performance, reduce injury risk factors (e.g., stress, personality, coping), and improve student-athlete mental health and well-being.

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