The Effect of Season Performance on Male and Female Track and Field Athletes’ Self-Identity

Abstract:

Although the “self” has generally been conceptualized as relatively stable in sportspecific research, events such as deselection, injury, and career termination have been found to negatively affect athletes’ levels of identification with the athlete role. Additionally, there has been limited research regarding competitive failure and its ability to negatively affect athletes’ levels of identification with the athlete role. The purpose of the present investigation was to provide additional evidence regarding the influence poor competitive seasons have on the malleability of athletes’ self-identity. Athletes were followed throughout the course of their season to determine whether athletes who encountered a poor competitive season reported lowered levels of athletic identity. Specifically, male and female NCAA Division I track and field athletes completed pre-indoor, post-indoor, and post-outdoor assessments of athletic identity. Contrary to previous research, the current study’s results indicated no identifiable relationship between male and female athletes’ season performance satisfaction and their level of post-indoor and post-outdoor athletic identity. Thus, the greatest predictor of athletes’ postseason level of athletic identity was their pre-season level of athletic identity, regardless of season performance. Given these results, future research should assess self-esteem as well as other potential coping strategies athletes might use in order to gain a better understanding of the effect encountering a poor competitive season may have on athletes’ self-identity.

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Bradstreet 2013 thesis

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