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Abstract

Transitioning into athletic retirement can have negative impacts on college student-athletes’ psychological, social, emotional, and physical well-being, yet few educational programs exist to help augment college student-athlete preparation for embracing life after sports. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a new Life After Sports Transition (LAST) online course for college student athletes. A single group pretest-post-test study evaluated effects of the LAST course among a convenience sample of college student-athletes (n=10) attending a NCAA Division I university. Paired sample t-tests examined changes in athletic identity, psychological well-being, hope, and self-reflection/insight. Propensity score matching (PSM) of pretest scores and age was used to reduce effects of the pretest differences in the small sample. At posttest, participants were also asked to assess the overall quality of the online LAST course. There was a decrease observed in athletic identity scores from pretest to posttest which approached statistical significance (P=.06). PSM analyses indicated that participants with higher GPA scores had significantly higher environmental mastery (b=2.28, SE=0.49, Pb=2.78, SE=1.20, P=.02, 95% CI: 0.42 to 5.14) scores at post-test than participants with lower GPA scores. However, contrary to our hypotheses, participants also reported lower scores on self-reflection/insight (P=.004, Hedges g = 1.65) and self-acceptance (P=.042, Hedges’ g = 0.93) at post-test. Despite these counter intuitive findings, participants rated the LAST course highly on most distance education quality dimensions. While student-athlete participation in the LAST course was associated with a decline in athletic identity, findings suggest that future life after sports programs focus more on introspective mediators of lifestyle change (i.e., self-reflection and self-acceptance) in order to foster more positive life transitions for college student-athletes.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.25035/jade.02.02.04

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