Our Research

Learn about the key findings discovered through the Arete platform and evaluation.

There is a high prevalence of mental disorders in young people, with one in three assessed as having a mental disorder. Athletes tend not to seek help due to fear of stigma and the perception of help ­seeking as a sign of weakness. Online and application based interventions can help facilitate help seeking behaviour in targeted populations such as young athletes to play an important role in addressing and promoting wellbeing, and have a non stigmatising appeal.

Executive summary

Many young athletes are exposed to stressors that are unique to sports performance that may lead to the experience of psychological distress or a decrease in wellbeing and/or sports performance. Online and mobile applications may be helpful in tracking wellbeing and providing material that may promote their health and wellbeing.

The ‘Arete’ app is designed to monitor and track daily wellbeing and provides a range of content that is specific to young athletes. This project aims to determine the feasibility of a readily available mobile application that was designed to promote the wellbeing of young athletes.

Key findings

Changes in mental health and wellbeing

Both younger and older athletes reported a significant decrease in psychological distress and a significant increase in mental wellbeing over the four weeks of using the Arete app. App users also reported improvements in psychological flexibility and reductions in symptoms of insomnia from baseline to follow-up.

Changes in healthy mindsets

Both younger and older athletes reported increases in help-seeking intentions if they have a personal or emotional problem from baseline to follow-up. Older athletes, but not younger athletes, also reported significant improvements in their dispositional mindfulness over the 4 weeks of using the app. However, neither younger or older athletes reported significant increases in self-compassion.

Changes in role strain

Younger athletes reported a significant improvement in perceptions of role strain including reductions in feeling overloaded by sport and school, ambiguity about their role, feeling conflicted in their role, and feeling underloaded. Changes in older athletes perceptions about role strain were less major.

Changes in healthy eating

Younger athletes reported increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption from baselines to follow-up and reducing their consumption of discretionary foods. Older athletes didn’t report a major change in their consumption of any types of food.

How was the evaluation conducted?

The participant was asked to take part in the evaluation of our mobile app,  ‘Arete’ which is designed to promote the wellbeing of young athletes. The research study  assessed the effectiveness of this app by asking them to complete an online questionnaire taking approximately 40-45 minutes before they start using the ‘Arete’ app and again after using the app for 4 weeks.

Data was collected from all participants at the start of the 4-week study period using an online questionnaire. Collected information included socio demographic background information (e.g., age, gender, educational level and other such information) and measures of physical activity, sleep, diet, mood, mental health and wellbeing. Participants were asked to use the ‘Arete’ app over a 4 week period. Following this 4-week period, participants were asked to fill out the same survey that was completed at the beginning of the study.

Who was the study conducted by?

The study was conducted by the Institute for Health and Sport (IHES), Victoria University. This project was conducted by Prof Alex Parker (Chief Investigator), Dr Michaela Pascoe, Dr Fabio Serpiello (Associate Investigators) and Rhiannon Patten (Research Assistant) from the Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University.

Read the Full Study Here

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