- Mental Health Interventions in Ultimate Frisbee
For my summer project, I conducted research on perspectives of youth ultimate frisbee organizers and leaders on wellbeing and mental health. Throughout the summer, I have been collecting data through semi-structured one on one interviews and focus groups across the U.S. Some topics I discussed included equity within the sport (most often regarding socioeconomic status, race, and gender), self reffing as a tool for youth and specifically young womxn’s* empowerment, drinking culture within the sport, injuries and frequency of dangerous play, and much more. Through the fall semester, I will analyze and code the data and ultimately write an academic article on the data I collected with the help of my P.I. and summer project partner.
This project is motivated by research surrounding athletes increased risk for mental health issues. Athletes have a higher risk than the general population to have clinical levels of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders. Furthermore, these risks often vary based on sport played. This research motivates sport specific mental health interventions and an investigation into what factors of sport and sport culture feed into this problem.
Ultimate frisbee was chosen for this project because very little research exists on the topic even though millions of people play it worldwide. Additionally, I play the sport and am extremely invested in this community. Because ultimate is a unique sport which incorporates sportsmanship into the rules, self reffing at the highest level of play, an extremely tight knit and liberal community, and “mixed teams” in which men and womxn* play together at the highest level of play (which creates interesting gender equity issues), I think it merits sport specific research. The goal of this project is to provide a basis for further research on ultimate frisbee, its potential as a tool for youth development and its unique perspective on wellbeing. *Much of the ultimate community has adopted the term womxn instead of women to be more inclusive of trans women, non-binary players, and women of color.
This is a picture of me visiting one of my previous teams during the year.