Prevalence, Perceived Understanding, and Head Coaches' Knowledge of ADD, ADHD, and BPD in South Mississippi High School Sports

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Performance and Recreation

First Advisor

Mark Maneval

Advisor Department

Human Performance and Recreation


The first purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Bipolar Disorder (BPD) in south Mississippi high school sports. A second purpose was to determine the perceived head coaches' knowledge and understanding of ADD, ADHD, and BPD. The sports included in the study were football, baseball, softball, men's basketball, women's basketball, men's soccer, and women's soccer. Two unused surveys were created and pilot tested for the purpose of the study. Guidance counselors at the selected schools were used to answer the prevalence of students participating in sports who were diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, and BPD. Head coaches of the selected schools were surveyed about their perceived knowledge, understanding, and teaching/coaching strategies with athletes that have ADD, ADHD, and BPD. Thirty-one high schools were selected to participate in the study. Of that number, eighteen agreed to participate. Of the eighteen high schools that agreed to participate in the study ten surveys were completed and received from the guidance counselors. This number comprised a 56% return rate for the surveyed guidance counselors. On the head coaches surveys, fifteen of the high schools returned surveys involving the head coaches and their perceived knowledge and understanding of ADD, ADHD, and BPD. This number entailed an 83% return rate. The study was analyzed using descriptive statistics. All of the data was analyzed using frequencies, percentages, and means. Results, according to the guidance counselors, indicated that 5.5% of the athletes participating in the specified sports of south Mississippi high schools were diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Head coaches surveyed indicated that a large majority (77.5%) had no formal coursework or workshop experience concerning ADD, ADHD, and BPD. A confounding variable appeared as to whether or not the coaches used in this study understood characteristics and correct teaching and coaching strategies that are needed for student athletes with ADD, ADHD, and BPD. In conclusion, the data indicated a higher than normal prevalence of developmental disorders in south Mississippi high school sports with the coaches of these sports appearing to lack in understanding or identifying teaching/coaching strategies of the specified disorders used in this study.