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The junior-to-senior transition in Swedish athletes: A longitudinal study
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation project was an exploration of junior-to-senior transition (JST) processes in Swedish sport club athletes based on holistic, developmental, and ecological perspectives. It consists of two multi-level studies covered by four separate articles. The first study is a quantitative longitudinal investigation of athletes’ transitional and personal variables during a two-and-a-half-year period including five measurements times (N = 101). The second study is a qualitative exploration of the JST pathways of four athletes who were also participants of the first study; the athletes’ transition narratives could be related to the previously discovered dynamics of their JSTs.

     The first article (1a), presenting study 1, is focused on identifying profiles of athletes in the JST based on some of their personal characteristics (athletic identity, self-esteem, and goal orientation) followed by a description of the JST pathways relevant to their profiles. The latent profile analysis resulted in three athlete profiles. Athletic identity appeared to be a key personal characteristic that influenced the dynamics of the JST adjustment. Different styles of coping strategies were also associated with different JST pathways.

     The second article (1b), presenting study 1, is aimed at identifying adjustment patterns in the JST based on athletes’ dynamics of adjustment during a two-and-a-half-year period, and describes the athletes’ demographics, personal and transitional characteristics at the beginning of the JSTs that were related to the different adjustment patterns. The latent profile analysis on athletes’ perceived degree of adjustment provided three profiles with different adjustment patterns (i.e., progressive, regressive, sustainable). Further analyses (descriptive statistics and Cohen’s d) showed that keeping a primary focus on sport (without ignoring other spheres of life), having a strong athletic identity, and a high motivation to reach the senior level were (to different degrees) relevant for both progressive and sustainable adjustment patterns.

     The first article (2a), presenting study 2, qualitatively explores two individual sport athletes’ (a male swimmer and a female tennis player) JST transition pathways, emphasising psychosocial factors that were perceived as facilitating and debilitating for the transition process. Narrative type interviews were used, and the holistic-form structural analysis provided a central storyline – a performance narrative – that was common for both athletes and two individual side storylines that were the swimmer’s effort and relationship narrative and the tennis player’s injury and reorientation narrative. Both athletes experienced various crossroads and shared perceptions of the factors facilitating coping (e.g., family, some coaches, elite sport club environment), but their reflections on the debilitating psychosocial factors of their JSTs were more individualistic than their views on the facilitating factors..

     The second article (2b), presenting study 2, has the same objectives and the same methodology as article 2a, but focuses on two team sport athletes’ (a male football player and a female basketball player) JST pathways. The football player’s JST path developed into a performance and family narrative, and the basketball player’s reflections on the transition process formed an enjoyment and relationship narrative. The players’ JST paths were lined with different crossroads, and throughout the transitions they perceived the key facilitating persons to be their families (e.g., parents, grandparents, siblings) and teammates, but some of the coaches’ behaviors were perceived as debilitating factors.

Major contributions to knowledge in this dissertation project include: (a) considering the JST (longitudinally) as a process involving dynamics and interactions of the transition demands, coping strategies, personal and environmental resources, and barriers influencing the JST outcome; (b) supporting the athletic career transition model in combination with the holistic, developmental, and ecological perspectives as adequate frameworks to study the JST; (c) suggesting that the integrated JST framework supported by the empirical findings can be used in the future research; (d) demonstrating significant variations in the JST pathways and adjustment patterns on the sub-group level (study 1) and also on the individual level (study 2); and (e) providing context-specific recommendations for different levels of the Swedish sport system for optimizing Swedish sport club athletes’ JSTs and supporting their continued sport participation on either the senior elite or the recreational level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linnaeus University Press, 2018.
Series
Linnaeus University Dissertations ; 305
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Social Sciences, Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-69440ISBN: 978-91-88761-09-5 (print)ISBN: 978-91-88761-10-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-69440DiVA, id: diva2:1168706
Public defence
2018-01-26, Baertlingsalen, Hus J, Högskolan i Halmstad, Halmstad, 12:24
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-01-05 Created: 2017-12-21 Last updated: 2018-01-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Profiles of personal characteristics and relevant pathwaysin the junior-to-senior transition: A longitudinal study of Swedish athletes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Profiles of personal characteristics and relevant pathwaysin the junior-to-senior transition: A longitudinal study of Swedish athletes
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Sport Psychology, ISSN 0047-0767, Vol. 47, no 6Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study the specific foci were as follows: (1) to identify profiles of athletes in the junior-to-senior transition (JST) based on their personal characteristics (athletic identity, self-esteem and goal orientation) and (2) to describe the JST pathways relevant to the profiles. This quantitative longitudinal study included five measurements that were conducted approximately every six months. The following package of four instruments was used: the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (Brewer, Van Raalte, & Linder, 1993), the Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire (Duda, 1989), the self-esteem sub-scale from the Physical Self-Perception Profile – Revised (Lindwall, Hagger, & Asci, 2007) and the Transition Monitoring Survey (Stambulova, Franck, & Weibull, 2012). In the first measurement 100 club-based Swedish athletes (73 male and 27 female) with the mean age of 16.51 (SD = 1.32) participated. The Latent Profile Analysis resulted in three profiles of athletes. Further, several similarities and differences were found in the JST pathways between athletes representing the three profiles. Athletic identity appeared to be a key personal characteristic that influenced the dynamics of the JST adjustment. Different styles of coping strategies were also associated with different JST pathways. The JST pathways relevant to the profiles are discussed based on the theoretical framework and previous research.

National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences, Sport Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-69435 (URN)10.7352/IJSP 2016.47 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-12-21 Created: 2017-12-21 Last updated: 2018-02-15Bibliographically approved
2. Swedish athletes’ adjustment patterns in the junior-to-senior transition
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Swedish athletes’ adjustment patterns in the junior-to-senior transition
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, ISSN 1612-197X, E-ISSN 1557-251XArticle in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The specific objectives of this study were: (a) to identify adjustment patterns in the junior-to-senior transition (JST) based on athletes’ dynamics of adjustment during a two-and-a-half-year period, and (b) to describe the athletes’ demographic, personal and transitional characteristics at the beginning of the JST that were related to the different adjustment patterns. This quantitative longitudinal study consisted of five measurements conducted approximately every six months over a two-and-a-half-year period. One instrument was used to measure the transition variables and three instruments to measure personal characteristics. In the first measurement, 101 club-based Swedish athletes with the mean age of 16.51 (SD = 1.32) took part. The latent profile analysis on athletes’ perceived degree of adjustment provided three profiles with different patterns in the JST. Profile 1 had a progressive adjustment pattern, whereas the second profile had a regressive adjustment pattern, and the third profile had a sustainable adjustment pattern. The descriptive statistics and Cohen’s d indicated that there were differences (with variation in magnitude) between the three profiles at the first measurement in terms of how athletes perceived different transitional characteristics. Keeping a primary focus on sport (but also having attention to other spheres of life), high athletic identity and motivation to reach senior level were characteristics relevant for both progressive and sustainable adjustment patterns.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2016
Keyword
career transition, junior-to-senior, adjustment patterns, longitudinal design
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Social Sciences, Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-69436 (URN)10.1080/1612197X.2016.1256339 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-12-21 Created: 2017-12-21 Last updated: 2018-05-17Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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