Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Goryunova


Leadership Studies, Student-athlete, well-being, mental health, leadership.


For many young adults, the transition from high school to college athletics can be a challenging and intimidating process. It is common knowledge that many student-athletes struggle with finding the balance between their mental health and their academic, athletic, and social responsibilities. In fact, many student-athletes feel that their commitments are greater than a full- time job when you factor in all that is expected of them (Cutler & Dwyer, 2020). Student-athlete life balance is affected by pressures such as demanding training schedules, strict dietary guidelines, expectations on performance, and many other factors that can contribute to commitments totaling over 80 hours a week (Brown et al, 2021). Some athletes struggle to cope with the impact of this pressure more severely compared to their peers (Hong, 2018). With that, having systems in place to support student-athletes can be invaluable. Oftentimes, it is the appointed leadership, more specifically coaches and team captains, who take on the role and responsibility of fostering a positive environment that supports the well-being of their student- athletes. However, many of those within appointed leadership roles receive no formal training on how to foster a positive environment for a team.