The present study involved three in-depth interviews with 10 informants who had voluntarily withdrawn from hockey, horse racing, football, and racquet-ball. The personal histories of the informants were examined for diversity and commonality of experience. A synthesized description of career change experience was written as a general story, identifying a sequence of experiential units that reflect the shifts in focus within the common experience. The general story indicated that withdrawal from sport was not simply an event but a process that began soon after the athletes became engaged in their career. This study supports and extends a model proposed by Schlossberg (1984) which attempts to account for diversity in the experience of transitions. The model is considered helpful in developing an understanding of the process of a transitional experience such as retirement from sport, considering the context in which the experience takes place, the meaning it has for the individual, and how it changes over time.
Derek Swain is with the Department of Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1W5.