Psychometric analysis of the International Olympic Committee’s Sport Mental Health Assessment Triage Tool among non-elite amateur adult athletes

Stephen Shannon, Mark Shevlin, Noel Brick, Paul Donnelly, Peter Horgan, Gavin Breslin

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Background: The International Olympic Committee developed the Sport Mental Health Assessment Tool-1, encompassing the Athlete Psychological Strain Questionnaire (APSQ) used for initial screening of mental ill-being symptoms and risk in elite athletes. Despite preliminary psychometric evidence, the APSQ has yet to be tested in non-elite amateur athletes, who represent the majority of sporting participants. The aim of the current study was to test the factor structure, cut-off point sensitivity, nomological validity, and test-retest reliability of the APSQ in non-elite amateur athletes.
Method: Athletes (n = 605) aged 28.57 years (SD = 9.32) comprising 402 males (73.5%) completed the 10-item APSQ, alongside validated measures of anxiety, depression, and well-being. Two Confirmatory Factor Analysis models were tested, in addition to a series of receiver operating characteristics curves benchmarked against clinically relevant anxiety and depression symptoms to examine pre-defined and alternative cut-point sensitivity. Nomological validity was tested through Pearson’s correlations, and intraclass correlation coefficients were examined for test-retest reliability.
Results: A higher-order APSQ model comprising a general ‘Psychological Strain’ factor, and three subcomponents of ‘External coping’, ‘Self-Regulation’ and ‘Performance’ was selected. Convergent and divergent validity were shown, and a new and revised, cut-point was found to have good classification accuracy within the study sample. Largely ‘fair-to-good’ test-retest reliability values were found.
Conclusion: The APSQ could be considered for initial screening of athlete mental health symptoms by sports organisations, and may enable effective triaging to follow-up mental health assessment and/or supporting guidance, potentially preventing, or mitigating, short and long-term effects of mental ill-being. Further research should be undertaken to establish if the psychometric properties found amongst the present sample are generalisable to the broader amateur sporting population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Early online date04 Apr 2024
Publication statusEarly online date - 04 Apr 2024


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