Jordan Vella
Jordan Vella
Jordan Vella

Jordan Vella

‘Exploring the Risk-Protective Factors for the Mental Health of Retired Elite Athletes’

Monash University, Vic
Awarded 2023
Co-funded by the rotary Club of Mont Albert & Surrey Hills ‘Danny Frawley Centre’

“Given many athletes have reported poor mental health and coping mechanisms post-retirement, this research is essential to helping professional athletes experience better quality of life during- and post- their career transitions.”

General Health PhD Scholarship

Researcher Profile

After completing a Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology at Monash University in 2017, I decided to take a break from studying and gain some work experience. This led me to working in a sports rehabilitation centre before becoming a Teaching Associate for undergraduate psychology at Monash University in 2019. It was here that I developed my passion for education and decided to pursue a career in research and education.

This encouraged me to complete a research internship at the Danny Frawley Centre in 2022, which provided me with essential skills in research and data analysis. In 2023 I continued my studies by becoming a PhD candidate, exploring the mental health of retired athletes. Outside of this, I continue to work in education and as a support worker for the NDIS, while also parenting an 11-year-old! I have a strong passion for education and men’s mental health, LOVE reading a good book, and going for long walks or hikes; and I continue working towards my end goal of becoming a professor.

I believe the most important things you can do in life are help others and take risks – the outcome is always rewarding!

Project Summary

Utilising four interconnected studies to explore the risk-protective factors for the mental health of retired athletes from high-contact teams sports, the purpose of my paper will be to improve the mental health of retired athletes within this population.

Study 1, a systematic review, will aim to determine the prevalence of psychological distress in retired athletes from high-contact sports, and to identify the known risk-protective factors for psychological distress among this population.

Study 2, a longitudinal cohort study, will aim to establish which factors are most influential in positively and negatively impacting athletes’ mental health during retirement, and which factors improve or worsen over time.

Study 3, which will involve in-depth interviews with retired athletes, will aim to explore athletes’ perceptions of the quality of support they received pre- and post- transition in order to understand which level of support (e.g., managers, coach, club, league, or associations) athletes value most, and to gauge their perception on risk-taking, retrospectively.

Lastly, Study 4, a consensus statement, will aim to unify sporting organisation in a discussion of the current and future challenges of retired athletes (based on the findings from the first three studies) in order to establish guidelines, or a framework, to better support the career transitions of retired athletes and future research aspects of athlete mental health.

It is also the objective of my paper to establish a foundation for future longitudinal research on athletes’ mental health experiences from career beginnings to retirement, and post-retirement.

Supervisors: Dr Kylie King, Dr Sarah Liddle and Dr Elise Facer-Childs.

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