Athletic identity, identity foreclosure, and career maturity: An investigation of intercollegiate athletes

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Whipple, Katherine
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Dean F. Anderson
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The Department of Kinesiology seeks to provide an ample knowledge of physical activity and active living to students both within and outside of the program; by providing knowledge of the role of movement and physical activity throughout the lifespan, it seeks to improve the lives of all members of the community. Its options for students enrolled in the department include: Athletic Training; Community and Public Health; Exercise Sciences; Pre-Health Professions; and Physical Education Teacher Licensure. The Department of Physical Education was founded in 1974 from the merger of the Department of Physical Education for Men and the Department of Physical Education for Women. In 1981 its name changed to the Department of Physical Education and Leisure Studies. In 1993 its name changed to the Department of Health and Human Performance. In 2007 its name changed to the Department of Kinesiology. Dates of Existence: 1974-present. Historical Names: Department of Physical Education (1974-1981), Department of Physical Education and Leisure Studies (1981-1993), Department of Health and Human Performance (1993-2007). Related Units: College of Human Sciences (parent college), College of Education (parent college, 1974 - 2005), Department of Physical Education for Women (predecessor) Department of Physical Education for Men
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The present study examined the strength of the relationship between level of identification with the role of athlete (athletic identity), identity foreclosure, and career maturity among 367 male and female Division III student-athletes participating in basketball, track and field, soccer, and cross country from four colleges in a nationally competitive NCAA Division III athletic conference in the Midwest. Questionnaire data showed that 91% of the respondents identified as Caucasian and 55% were male. The average age of participants was 19.96 years, and freshman (38%), sophomores (26.8%), juniors (21.1%), and seniors (13.2%) were all represented in the sample. Instruments that comprised the questionnaire included the 50-item Attitude Scale of the Career Maturity Inventory (CMI), the 10-item Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS), the 6-item Foreclosure Subscale of the Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status (OM-EIS), and the 10-item Public-Private Athletic Identity Scale (PPAIS). Demographic questions were also included.

Pearson product moment correlations showed that identity foreclosure scores (r = -.13, p < .05), AIMS scores (r = -.15, p < .01), public athletic identity scores (r = -.34, p < .01), private athletic identity scores (p < -.16, p < .01), and PPAIS total scores (r = -.33, p < .01) were all inversely related to career maturity scores. A stepwise regression analysis with career maturity as the dependent variable showed that public athletic identity entered first and explained 11% of the variance in career maturity. Private athletic identity was the only other significant association and added 1% more variance explained. A MANOVA found no significant main effect for gender, but did show a significant main effect for specific sport Wilks' λ = .88, F(10, 706) = 4.59, p < .01. Univariate analyses suggested that basketball players displayed higher levels of identity foreclosure (η2 = .09) and public athletic identity (η2 = .02) than track and field/cross country and soccer, and that track and field/cross country showed the highest level of career maturity (η2 = .02) of the three groups. Although the relationships found in the present study are in the same direction as shown with previous research among NCAA Division I student-athletes, the relationships among this sample of NCAA Division III student-athletes were much weaker. These data suggest that NCAA Division III student-athletes may negotiate their identity hierarchies differently than student-athletes competing at the NCAA Division I level and the public and private athletic identity may be more important in predicting career maturity than a general measure of athletic identity (AIMS).

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2009