Date of Graduation

12-2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Recreation and Sport Management (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Health, Human Performance and Recreation

Advisor

Merry Moiseichik

Committee Member

Stephen Dittmore

Second Committee Member

L Jean Henry

Third Committee Member

Daniel Kissinger

Abstract

Sports participation can result in strong associations with the athlete role for participants. While strong athletic identity can have positive implications, it can also create vulnerability to emotional difficulty following exit from sport (Brewer, 1993). Exit from sport is inevitable, resulting from a wide range of sources such as injury, aging, de-selection, or not qualifying to participate at a certain skill level. Despite a large proportion of high school students who play sports, there is little opportunity for continuation at the college level. This discrepancy often results in significant transitional loss resulting from exhausted athletic eligibility. The current study examines campus recreation programs within college campuses as potential resources for positive adjustment following such role exits. The current study utilized the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS), Loss in Sport Survey (LISS), Recreational Sports Involvement Index, and Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) to examine the instance of transitional loss after termination of high school athletic careers, as well as the roles of athletic identity and transitional loss within the relationship between campus recreation and subjective well-being. Results of a multiple regression analysis supported previous literature indicating a positive relationship between athletic identity and feelings of loss, and suggested that athletic identity and the wish to continue in the varsity athlete role are the most predictive of transitional loss. A t-test indicated that those with high involvement in competitive recreational sports activities had greater transitional loss levels than those with low involvement. Finally, factorial ANOVA results suggested a main effect of recreational sports involvement on the outcome variable of life satisfaction, as well as an interaction effect between recreational sports involvement and loss levels on the outcome variable of life satisfaction. Specifically, among those with high loss levels, high recreational sports involvement was associated with greater life satisfaction scores. Results have implications regarding the identification of methods that can be utilized for positive adjustment following a sport exit. In addition, results provide additional support for the use of campus recreation programs as valuable student development resources that can aid in adjustment and student success in college.

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