Date of Conferral







Arcella Trimble


It is well documented that students from low socioeconomic backgrounds face a significant degree of deficiencies in college opportunity. Previous researchers have shown an estimated 1 in 5 student athletes given the opportunity to compete at the college level come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and encounter more adjustment issues than other students because of the psychological barriers they face. Using Pearlin's theory of psychological distress and Selye's GAS as the foundation, this study explored the extent to which the difference between the perceived time needed and actual time spent in both sports and academic commitment predict psychological distress in first-year high-risk student athletes. Data were collected from 132 first-year high-risk student athletes via an online survey. The survey included Health & Human Service SES questionnaire, Sport and Academic Commitment Questionnaire, and the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. Multiple regression analysis revealed that sports commitment differences and academic differences were shown not to predict psychological distress. However, the results consistently showed the student athlete has time discrepancies with sport and academics and on average has moderate to severe psychological distress levels. The results are key to continuing the conversation of student athletes' psychological distress levels and establishing better interventions that specifically address the challenges of being a high-risk student athlete. If specific interventions target high-risk student athletes' mental health, they can be better served and more prepared to make the most of the college experience.