U.S. NCAA Division I Female Student-Athletes’ Perceptions of an Empowerment and Social Responsibility Program

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of Tennessee
  • | 2 Clemson University
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Because alcohol abuse and sexual violence are particularly prevalent on college campuses (Coker et al., 2011), empowering female student-athletes is a vital pursuit for intercollegiate athletics (Gill, 2008; Cattaneo & Chapman, 2010). Using consensual qualitative research (Hill et al., 1997, 2005), we interviewed eight Division I female student-athletes who participated in an empowerment program about their experiences. Five domains were revealed: (a) perception of psychological empowerment, (b) perception of social empowerment, (c) perception of physical empowerment, (d) perception of biggest “takeaways,” and (e) experience of program. Findings illustrated the importance of empowering female student-athletes to believe in themselves, to act upon those beliefs, and to build community around those beliefs.

Malnati is with the Center for Sport, Peace, and Society, and Fisher, Zakrajsek, Larsen, Bejar, and Raabe are with the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, all at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. Fynes is with the Department of Psychology, Clemson University, Clemson, SC.

Address author correspondence to Alicia Malnati at AMalnati@utk.edu.