An Explorative Study on Major Stressors and Its Connection to Depression and Chronic Stress among German Elite Athletes


Although research shows that chronic stress and specific stressful events (e.g. injury, failure) are associated with depressive symptoms in athletes, connections between chronic, major stressors and depressive symptoms are yet unknown. Therefore, the goal of the study was to gain new findings between major stressors and their relations to depressive symptoms and chronic stress. A total of 134 elite athletes provided data in an online survey. In addition to quantitative measurements (current depressive symptoms, and level of chronic stress), possible stressors were assessed qualitatively with an open ended question. By using content analysis to explore stressors, three different types of stressors were categorized: Double burden, sport specific demands, and conditions. Further statistical analysis found these stressors to be associated with dropout intentions, depression and chronic stress. Athletes, who reported sport specific demands (such as high training loads) as major stressors indicated higher levels of chronic stress and depressive symptoms than athletes without major stressors. Further research investigating sources of stress and its association to depressive syndromes in athletes could benefit from considering sport specific factors.

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Nixdorf, I. , Frank, R. and Beckmann, J. (2015) An Explorative Study on Major Stressors and Its Connection to Depression and Chronic Stress among German Elite Athletes. Advances in Physical Education, 5, 255-262. doi: 10.4236/ape.2015.54030.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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