An Intervention to Support Collegiate Student-Athletes in the Transition to Meaningful Lifetime Physical Activity

in Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Melinda B. SmithMessiah University

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Diane L. GillUniversity of North Carolina at Greensboro

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Erin J. ReifsteckUniversity of North Carolina at Greensboro

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Former student-athletes (SAs) experience unique barriers to maintaining their physical activity, such as loss of team support, less motivation without specific goals, and identity-related changes. Informed by a self-determination theory framework, the authors developed a 6-week Pilates-based intervention to support the physical and psychological wellness of SAs by fostering self-determined motivation and basic psychological needs satisfaction as they make the transition to physically active alumni. In this case study, the authors outline the development and implementation of the program with final-year SAs (N = 12) at a Division III institution. Feasibility was demonstrated through high adherence and positive participant feedback suggesting they valued their experiences in the program and felt more confident in pursuing new forms of physical activity beyond college sports. To extend this type of programming at other institutions, the authors recommend that sport psychology professionals consider unique institutional barriers and opportunities for supporting SAs in their transition to meaningful lifetime activity.

Smith is with Messiah University, Mechanicsburg, PA, USA. Gill and Reifsteck are with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA.

Smith (mbsmith@messiah.edu) is corresponding author.
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