Negative Consequences of Leaving Competitive Sport? Comparative Findings for Former Elite-Level Hockey Players

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This paper compares findings from a survey of former Canadian Junior hockey players and results from a representative sample of males of the same age in the general population. The analyses test hypotheses derived from the argument that disengagement from elite-level sport leads to various stress-induced negative consequences. The three primary dependent variables, suggested by the previous literature, are measures of life satisfaction, employment status, and marital status. For these measures, there was no evidence of negative consequences of disengagement, even when the comparisons were controlled for time since disengagement. This conclusion was also supported by reports from the former players on their attitudes toward elite-level hockey and about their disengagement from the role of active player at this level. A possible exception was in the former players’ reports of feelings of loss at the time of disengagement. Relevant analyses are also reported for the extent of continued involvement in hockey in other than playing capacities. There were some effects of continued involvement upon attitudes toward hockey that suggest that involvement functions to limit attitudes of negativity. Theoretical implications of the findings are discussed.

Direct all correspondence to James Curtis, Departments of Sociology and Kinesiology, or Richard Ennis, Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1.
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