Exploring perceptions of depression: a performer perspective

Lebrun, Florence, Collins, Dave, MacNamara, Àine and Rodgers, Sheelagh (2023) Exploring perceptions of depression: a performer perspective. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology . pp. 1-23. ISSN 1612-197X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2022.2161099


Perceptions towards mental health symptoms and disorders seem to be shaped by societal, environmental, cultural, and personal beliefs. As such, differences may exist across different sub-groups or cultures which could, in turn, influence treatment and prevention. The present study considered performers’, selected from different environments, knowledge, attitudes, and reactions towards a common mental health disorder; namely, depression. To do so, a vignette-method was employed with 197 participants (nathletes = 97, nperforming artists = 17, nmilitary forces  = 26, and ngeneral population = 57) to examine the groups’ ability to discriminate between depression levels, together with their reactions and personal attitudes towards people presenting such symptomatology. Statistical analyses showed that the severity of depression, as depicted in the vignettes, exerted a significant influence on participants’ recognition and reactions. Moreover, an age effect was observed on participants’ reactions, whilst a between-group effect was identified regarding groups’ attitudes and beliefs towards depression. Differences in knowledge, reactions, and attitudes towards symptoms of depression identified in relation to performance environments add to the literature stressing the need for context-specific mental health interventions.

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