The mental wellbeing of current and retired professional cricketers: an observational prospective cohort study

Nannet Schuring, Gino Kerkhoffs, Janine Gray, Vincent Gouttebarge*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Scientific knowledge about symptoms of common mental disorders in professional cricket is non-existent. Consequently, the aims of the study were to determine the prevalence and the 6 months incidence of symptoms of common mental disorders (CMD: distress, anxiety/depression, sleep disturbance, adverse alcohol use) among current and former professional cricketers and to explore the association of potential stressors (significant injury, surgery, adverse life events, career dissatisfaction) and CMD. Methods: An observational prospective cohort study with a follow-up period of 6 months was conducted among current and former professional cricketers from South Africa. Using validated questionnaires to assess symptoms of common mental disorders as well as several stressors, an electronic questionnaire was set up and distributed by the South African Cricketers Association (SACA). Results: A total of 116 participants enrolled at baseline (overall response rate of 33%) and 76 of those participants completed the 6 month follow-up (follow up rate of 66%). The prevalence of symptoms of CMD in current professional cricketers was 38% for distress, 38% for sleep disturbance, 37% for anxiety/depression and 26% for adverse alcohol use. Among former professional cricketers, baseline prevalence as was 26% for distress, 24% for anxiety/depression, 21% for sleep disturbance and 22% for adverse alcohol use. Career dissatisfaction led to an increased risk of distress, anxiety/depression and sleep disturbance in current professional cricketers. Surgeries and adverse life events led to an increase in reported symptoms of distress and anxiety/depression in current professional cricketers. Conclusions: It was concluded that symptoms of CMD are prevalent in both current and former professional cricketers and the association with surgery, adverse life events and cricket career dissatisfaction may provide some insight into possible mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-469
Number of pages7
JournalPhysician and Sportsmedicine
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

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