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The likelihood of developing depression following sport-related concussion

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posted on 2022-11-12, 21:22 authored by Daniel WalkerDaniel Walker, Adam Qureshi, David Marchant, Alex Bahrami Balani

Presented at the 6th International Consensus Conference for Concussion in Sport, 27-28 October 2022, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Objective: Risk factors associated with depression in athletes include biological sex, physical pain, history of sport-related concussion (SRC) and sport-type. However, no research has examined how these factors affect the likelihood of depression occurring. Understanding this and communicating this to sportspeople effectively could improve the attitudes they have towards concussion.

Design: Convenience sample: Participants completed questionnaires on the online survey platform “Qualtrics.”

Setting: United Kingdom

Participants: 144 participants completed a short survey that collected data on biological sex, physical pain, history of SRC and sport-type as well as the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD) which measured depressive symptoms.

Outcome measures: A total score ≥16 of 60 on CESD highlights an individual may be experiencing some form of depression. This cut-off was therefore used for logistic regression to create “depressed” and “non-depressed” groups.

Main Results: Logistic regression revealed all four predictors to be significantly associated with depression. The model suggested that individuals that have sustained SRC (OR = 57), experiencing greater physical pain (OR = 1.4), being female (OR = 2.9), and participating in contact sports (OR = 71) were more likely to present depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: This study highlights the significant risk that SRC and physical pain have to mental health and that engaging in contact sports, where these two factors are highly prevalent increases this risk. Sportspeople should therefore be wary of contact sports, as SRC and physical pain risk is high and subsequent mental health issues are likely and communicating this to athletes is imperative.


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