Laura Kruger

Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Karen A Card


Intercollegiate student-athletes face rising stress and pressures which challenge their well-being and mental health, and sometimes with alarming concerns. Over the years, supportive services and resources specifically available to student-athletes have not evolved at the same pace as student-athlete needs. Also, barriers and stigmas hinder student-athletes from readily accessing supportive mental health services. The high stress of student-athletes can contribute to the development of negative mental health symptoms and impairs positive well-being. Evidence supports how outreach initiatives help student-athletes. Positive psychology, including gratitude as a positive psychological state, has shown benefits to well-being. This experimental study design researched if the implementation of an educational gratitude workshop for student-athletes could increase their self-reported perceptions of well-being and reduce stress. To my knowledge, this is the first known experimental study design to research a gratitude workshop intervention among student-athletes. There was a total of 54 participants who were enrolled at a Division II institution in the Midwest as a student-athlete, regardless if their sport was in-season or out-of-season at the time of the workshop. Participants were randomly assigned to an experimental group or a control group to assess differences, and all participants completed a survey after the workshop. The post-workshop assessment survey evaluated self-reported measures of state gratitude, psychological distress, life satisfaction, athlete burnout, and perceived available support in sport. All measures were analyzed separately, and statistical significance was found in two scales: emotional support within the perceived available support in sport scale (p = 0.023) and workshop meaningfulness (p = 0.0006). While all participants in this study revealed moderate, overall state gratitude levels in life, the workshop significantly influenced the experimental group’s perceived available support in sport, emotionally. The data suggest that student-athletes do not perceive enough emotional support is available for them in sport.

Subject Categories

Higher Education | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry and Psychology


Athlete, Athletics, Gratitude, Sports, Stress, Wellbeing

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



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