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Exposure to physical and psychosocial stressors in relation to symptoms of common mental disorders among European professional football referees: a prospective cohort study
  1. Özgür Kilic1,2,3,
  2. Urban Johnson4,
  3. Gino M M J Kerkhoffs1,2,3,
  4. Philippe Rosier5,6,
  5. Vincent Gouttebarge1,2,3,7
  1. 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Academic Center for Evidence Based Sports Medicine (ACES), Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3Amsterdam Collaboration on Health & Safety in Sports (ACHSS), AMC/VUmc IOC Research Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  4. 4Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden
  5. 5Royal Belgian Football Association, Brussels, Belgium
  6. 6Centre de Recherche Appliquée en Psychopédagogie de la Perception, University Fernando Pessoa, Porto, Portugal
  7. 7Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vincent Gouttebarge; v.gouttebarge{at}amc.uva.nl

Abstract

Objectives The study aim was to explore the association of physical and psychosocial stressors (severe injuries, surgeries, recent life events, social support) with one-season onset of symptoms of common mental disorders (CMDs) among European professional football referees.

Methods An observational prospective cohort study over a follow-up period of one season (2015–2016) was conducted among professional football referees from Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, Scotland and Sweden. Based on physical and psychosocial stressors as well as symptoms of CMD, an electronic questionnaire in English and French was set up and distributed by eight football federations involved.

Results The prevalence of symptoms of CMD ranged from 5.9% for distress to 19.2% for eating disorders. A higher number of severe injuries and a lower degree of satisfaction about social support were significantly related to the occurrence of symptoms of CMD with an OR of 2.63 and an OR of 1.10, respectively.

Conclusion A higher number of severe injuries and a lower degree on satisfaction about social support were found to be significantly associated with the onset of symptoms of CMD among European professional football referees. Referees suffering from severe injuries were nearly three times more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression. Referees who reported a low satisfaction of social support were significantly more likely to report symptoms of eating disorder.

  • Football
  • Referees
  • Epidemiology
  • Mental disorders
  • Substance-related disorders

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Contributors VG and GMMJK were responsible for the conceptualisation of the study’s idea and data collection. ÖK was responsible for data analysis, interpretation of data and preparation of the manuscript. GMMJK, UJ, PR and VG were responsible for the critical review of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval for this study was provided by the Medical Ethics Review Committee of the Academic Medical Center W15_050#15.0061, Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval for this study was provided by the Medical Ethics Review Committee of the Academic Medical Center W15_050#15.0061, Amsterdam, The Netherlands).

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