Adapting an evidence-supported optimization program for mental health and sport performance in collegiate athletes to fit youth from ethnic/racial minority and low-income neighborhoods: A National Institutes of Health stage model feasibility study

Int J Psychiatry Med. 2022 May;57(3):226-247. doi: 10.1177/00912174211006547. Epub 2021 Apr 29.


The current study addresses the need to empirically develop effective mental health interventions for youth from ethnic/racial minority and low-income neighborhoods. Using Stage Model evaluation methods supported by the National Institutes of Health in the US to address underutilization of mental healthcare among racial/ethnic minority youth, this feasibility study demonstrates empirical adaptation of an innovative sport-specific psychological intervention for use in youth from ethnic/racial minority and low-income neighborhoods. An international group of professionals familiar with sport performance and mental health intervention serving the target population experientially examined the adapted intervention protocols in workshops and provided feedback. Survey results indicated the professionals found the intervention components were easy to administer and likely to be safe, enjoyable, engaging and efficacious for youth mental health and sport performance. The protocols were revised based on feedback from these professionals and the intervention was examined in a case trial involving an Asian American youth who evidenced Social Anxiety Disorder. Case study results indicated the intervention could be implemented with integrity, and severity of psychiatric symptoms and factors interfering with sport performance decreased after intervention implementation. The participant's relationships with family, coaches and teammates were also improved.

Keywords: ethnic/race; healthcare disparity; mental health; sport; treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletes
  • Ethnic and Racial Minorities
  • Ethnicity*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Minority Groups / psychology
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • United States