Adaptation to Athletic Career Termination in Male Professional Sport

  • Claire-Marie Roberts

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The purpose of this thesis was to investigate the experiences of athletic career termination in male professional sport to examine: (1) the conceptualisation of the voluntariness of retirement and its impact on adaptation to athletic career termination, (2) the conceptualisation of the outcome of athletic career termination and (3) the temporal nature of patterns of adaptation in this sample in three interconnected studies. Study 1 examined the career termination experiences of professional cricketers, the findings illustrated the sport specific nature of career termination, concluded the distinction between voluntary and involuntary retirement was, at best unclear and found no evidence to support the existence of either a healthy or a crisis transition in this sample. Study 2 was a quasi-longitudinal study that employed hierarchical multiple regression to examine predictors of life satisfaction at two time points; on or near retirement, and again 6 years later in a sample of retired professional cricketers and rugby union players. Life satisfaction alone is indicative of self perceived adaptation (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985) and a key measure of adaptation to athletic career termination (Stambulova, Alfermann, Statler, & Côté, 2009). This study concluded that the biggest predictor of adaptation to athletic career termination was sport type, and revealed a general increase in life satisfaction over time. Study 3 was conducted as a qualitative follow up to provide further depth and context to the sport-specific nature of retirement from sport and the changes noted in levels of life satisfaction. This study concluded that athletic career transitions occur within a specific sporting context that influences and informs the potential f or adaptation. In addition, the study presented data to indicate the fluctuating nature of levels of life satisfaction after athletic career termination in response to the psychological legacy of an athletic career. These findings call into question the conceptual and theoretical perspectives of a linear and dichotomous transition outcome.
    Date of Award5 Dec 2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRichard Mullen (Supervisor) & Lynne Evans (Supervisor)


    • athletic career termination
    • athletic identity
    • common mental disorders
    • life satisfaction
    • retirement

    Cite this