Implementation of the International Olympic Committee Sport Mental Health Assessment Tool 1: Screening for Mental Health Symptoms in a Canadian Multisport University Program Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Objective: To apply the International Olympic Committee Sport Mental Health Assessment Tool 1 (SMHAT-1) to determine the prevalence of mental health symptoms in a cohort of university student athletes over an academic year. A secondary objective was to explore the internal consistency of the screening tools from the SMHAT-1. Design: Cross-sectional design with 3 repeated measurements over an academic year. Setting: A large university multisport program. Participants: Five hundred forty-two university-level student athletes from 17 sports. Intervention: N/A. Main Outcome Measures: On 3 occasions, the participants completed the SMHAT-1, which consists of the Athlete Psychological Strain Questionnaire. If an athlete's score was above the threshold (≥17), the athlete completed step 2, consisting of (1) Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7; (2) Patient Health Questionnaire-9; (3) Athlete Sleep Screening Questionnaire; (4) Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test Consumption; (5) Cutting Down, Annoyance by Criticism, Guilty Feeling, and Eye-openers Adapted to Include Drugs; and (6) Brief Eating Disorder in Athletes Questionnaire. Internal consistency of the SMHAT-1 was also measured. Results: Participants reported mental health symptoms with prevalence of 24% to 40% for distress, 15% to 30% for anxiety, 19% to 26% for depression, 23% to 39% for sleep disturbance, 49% to 55% for alcohol misuse, 5% to 10% for substance use, and 72% to 83% for disordered eating. Female athletes were more likely to suffer psychological strain, depression, and sleep disturbance; male athletes were more likely to report substance use. Conclusions: The SMHAT-1 was feasible to implement with good internal consistency. University-level athletes suffer from a variety of mental health symptoms underscoring the necessity for team physicians to have the clinical competence to recognize and treat mental health symptoms.


  • Mountjoy, Margo
  • Edwards, Carla
  • Cheung, Christian P
  • Burr, Jamie
  • Gouttebarge, Vincent

publication date

  • January 2023