Male professional footballers’ experiences of mental health difficulties and help-seeking

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Bibliographic Details
Title translated into German:Die Erfahrungen männlicher Profi-Fußballspieler mit psychischen Gesundheitsbeschwerden und der Suche nach Hilfe
Author:Wood, Susan; Harrison, Lesley K.; Kucharska, Jo
Published in:The physician and sportsmedicine
Published:45 (2017), 2, S. 120-128, Lit.
Format: Publications (Database SPOLIT)
Publication Type: Journal article
Media type: Electronic resource (online) Print resource
ISSN:0091-3847, 2326-3660
Online Access:
Identification number:PU201710008832

Author's abstract

Objectives: Male professional footballers (soccer) represent an at-risk population of developing mental health difficulties and not accessing professional support. One in four current footballers report mental health difficulties. Higher prevalence is reported after retirement. This qualitative study aimed to provide in-depth insight into male professional footballers’ lived experiences of mental health difficulties and help-seeking. Methods: Seven participants were interviewed. Data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: One superordinate theme emerged; ‘Survival’. This related to survival in the professional football world, of mental health difficulties and after transition into the ‘real world’. Six subordinate themes are explored alongside literature pertaining to male mental health, identity, injury, transition, and emotional development. Shame, stigma, fear and level of mental health literacy (knowledge of mental health and support) were barriers to help-seeking. Conclusion: Support for professional footballers’ mental wellbeing requires improvement. Recommendations are made for future research, mental health education and support.