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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 33-41

Understanding mental health in malaysian elite sports: a qualitative approach

Sport Psychology Center, National Sports Institute, Malaysia China Olympic Committee, China

Correspondence Address:
Philip Lew Chun Foong
Sport Psychology Center, National Sports Institute, Malaysia China Olympic Committee
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2231-9409.328215

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The attention in the society and rapid expansion of interest on the status and challenges of mental health among sporting athletes, especially in the elite sports setting, had increased exponentially. The present study was aimed to explore and gain a better understanding of mental health and psychological well-being of Malaysian elite athletes. It also provides insights into a broader aspect based on participants' personal experiences. A semi-structured interview was conducted for all 32 athletes (male, n = 16; female, n = 16) from a variety of sport: individual, team-sports; able-bodied, and Paralympic. Participants were aged between 19-38 years old (mean 25.69 years) from various ethnicity and religions. Six (6) themes (Personal understanding on mental health; Stigma of mental health; Symptoms, effects and sources of mental health; Coping strategies; Mental health and well-being support; Advice of athletes) and 19 subthemes were derived based on qualitative thematic analysis. Based on the analysis, subthemes, i.e. Presentation in mass media; Transition; Personal life-related issues; Performance expectation; Sporting environment are significant stressors causing mental health issues. The influence of spirituality and religion on the topic of mental health was also being highlighted. In conclusion, it is hopeful that the present study will stimulate interest and discussion in identifying methods and direction for both researchers and practitioners in bridging the theoretical-applied gap and offer effective supports to Malaysian athletes.

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