“Retirement” from Intercollegiate Sport: Theoretical and Empirical Considerations

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Susan L. GreendorferUniversity of Illinois

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Elaine M. BlindeUniversity of Illinois

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Survey data from 1,123 former intercollegiate athletes (427 males and 697 females) were examined relative to commitment to a sport role, educational and occupational preparation, postcareer sport participation, social interests, and adjustment to sport retirement. Chi-square and factor analyses revealed that the former athletes in this study did not totally withdraw from the system of sport, that some shifting or reprioritization of interests occurred during their athletic career, and that the process of leaving sport may be more gradual or transitional than previously believed. Patterns obtained were similar for both males and females, and there was little evidence to suggest these athletes experienced adjustment difficulties. In light of these findings, an alternative conceptualization of the sport “retirement” process is offered.

This research was partially funded by a grant from the National Collegiate Athletic Association to D.A. Kleiber and S.L. Greendorfer and a grant from the UIUC Research Board to S.L. Greendorfer and D.A. Kleiber.

Direct all correspondence to Susan L. Greendorfer, Motor Behavior Laboratory, Dept. of Physical Education, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL 61820.
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