Mental health in elite sport


Formal title

Mental Health Among Athletes and Coaches in Norway - The Dark side of Elite Sport?


This project will take a closer look at well-being, perceived quality of life, and mental health in elite sport in Norway. It will examine the prevalence of some common mental disorders (anxiety, depression, sleeping disorders (primarily insomnia), eating disorders, gambling problems, and substance abuse). Elite athletes, former elite athletes, and elite coaches take part in the study.

A part of the project wants to take a closer look at how well-being, quality of life, and mental health can vary over a specific time-frame, depending on injury problems, performances, and other sport-specific and more general variables. Therefore, a part of the study will follow selected sports for 12 months. It will be conducted measurements approximately every fourth month during this period.


The project will use validated clinical questionnaires that measure symptom load on the various disorders mentioned above. The respondents will also receive questions related to well-being and quality of life, as well as other selected topics. Since the project initiates during COVID-19, we include questions concerning COVID-19.

We will invite a group of participants, primarily those who exceed the clinical threshold in the clinical questions, to conduct a clinical research interview. This interview is to confirm whether the participants have a mental disorder or not.

A project group, consisting of researchers from Norway (Professor Anne Marte Pensgaard), Sweden (Fil. Dr. Göran Kenttä), Denmark (Associated Professor Kristoffer Henriksen), Finland (Dr. Maarit Valtonen) and Canada (Professor Penny Werthner), will meet. The group will conduct separate studies, but discuss common issues and challenges, look at relevant screening tools and share experiences.


The results are published continuously.