“Bouncing Back” from Adversity: Athletes’ Experiences of Resilience

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Nick Galli University of Utah

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Robin S. Vealey Miami (OH) University

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The purpose of this study was to explore athletes’ perceptions and experiences of resilience. Ten high-level athletes were interviewed regarding the most difficult adversities that they had ever had to overcome in sport. Richardson and colleagues’ (Richardson, Neiger, Jensen, & Kumpfer, 1990) resiliency model served as a guiding theoretical framework in the process of data collection and analysis. Inductive analysis (Patton, 2002; Thomas, 2006) was used to explore the data for key themes and patterns of relationships. Five general dimensions emerged that described the resilience experience of the athletes. These dimensions include breadth and duration, agitation, sociocultural influences, personal resources, and positive outcomes. A conceptual model of the resilience process as experienced by the athletes in this study is presented as a preliminary framework for future studies of resilience in sport.

Galli is with the Dept. of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. Vealey is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Health, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056.

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