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Individual athletes more prone to depression, researchers find

Jan 2nd, 2017 by

Study by German sports psychologists finds individual athletes score higher on depression scale than those in team sports

Athletes in individual sports are more prone to depression than those in team games, according to German research to be presented at a conference in Cardiff.

The research by the Technical University of Munich confirms not just the loneliness of the long distance runner but a range of other depressive symptoms among solo sportsmen and women more generally.

Related: Ian Thorpe: ‘I was surrounded by people but had this intense loneliness’

The hardest thing about running is that you are on own before a race. When things are great that’s what’s good about it. I’m not dependent on 10 other guys being on the top of their game in order for me to be successful. But there is also nothing to fall back on. The nature of athletics is that one guy gets to win each race, and so there’s 11 or more in my event who don’t. And its that unpredictability that’s the hard bit.

It got to a point with my coach when I couldn’t express how low I was. There are not many people I get to talk to about these things. I’m not surrounded by a team. I don’t have to turn up to a training ground.

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