Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award

Summer 8-8-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Dr. Don E. Davis

Second Advisor

Dr. Catherine Y. Chang

Third Advisor

Dr. Han Na Suh

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Saundra Tabet


Black male student-athletes represent a large percentage of those competing in NCAA varsity sports. Black male student-athletes are impacted by a variety of stereotypes and the pressure of achieving academically and athletically. Scholars have identified that athletes may resist mental health services because of stigma that exist in the athletic environment (Watson, 2005; Watson, 2006).Athlete identity and masculine gender socialization might play a large role in how black male student-athletes seek psychological help. This phenomenon can be explained by modified labeling theory (Link et al., 1989) and stereotype threat (Steele & Aronson, 1995). The mental health stigma that exists within athletics might present a barrier for athletes to seek psychological help, thus a more in-depth investigation into the mental health processes of black male student-athletes is needed. In Chapter 1, I explore conceptualizations of the need for a deeper understanding of how mental health stigma and racial identity may impair black athletes. In Chapter 2, I investigate how the dynamics of how masculine gender socialization and athlete identity interact in a group of Black male collegiate athletes. The study secured a sample of 728 Black male student-athletes to investigate the relationship between athlete identity, masculinity, mental health stigma, and help-seeking, utilizing a latent profile analysis and mixture regression analytic strategy. I explored three different hypotheses: (a) is a negative correlation between mental health stigma and help-seeking intentions (b) are there distinct groups of athletes when classified based on athlete identity and gender socialization, with a high-risk class of black male student-athletes Contrary to my prediction, mental health stigma and help-seeking intentions did not have an inverse relationship. The results of the latent profile analysis identified 5 distinct classes. Finally, I conclude with implications for counseling and suggestions for future research.

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