Perceptions of peer mental health: impact of race and student-athlete status

Alisia G.T.T. Tran, Kristi L. Eustice, Jeffrey S. Mintert, Christina K. Lam, Jenny Holzapfel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: This study used a multi-faceted methodological approach to examine if peer perceptions of stereotyped student groups’ mental health needs varied by target race and student-athlete status. Participants: In Study 1, 502 university students completed an online experiment. Study 2 data were drawn from the American College Health Association (ACHA)-National College Health Assessment (N = 65,167) and Healthy Minds Study (N = 43,487). Methods: Study 1 participants rated the severity of various mental health concerns for Black non-student-athletes, White non-student-athletes, Black student-athletes, or White student-athletes. Study 2 conceptualized peer perceptions vis-à-vis mental health patterns in national data. Results: Study 1 generally revealed lower perceived severity of mental health concerns for Black non-student-athletes. In contrast, Study 2 patterns revealed more variations across student status groups, including that Black non-student-athletes exhibited relatively high prevalence rates of numerous mental health concerns. Conclusions: Results may suggest mental health under-/over-pathologizing, with implications for training and peer-to-peer mental health interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)626-638
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023


  • Over-pathologizing
  • peer mental health
  • race/ethnicity
  • student-athletes
  • under-pathologizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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