Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Women college students-Psychology, Women athletes-Psychology, Women athletes-Retirement, Sports-Psychological aspects, Athletics, Sports, Disengage, Female, College


The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of female college students who have disengaged from athletics. The study sought to identify factors that influence a young, female college student's transition out of athletics and better understand the ways that these individuals experience and perceive their transition. Through interviews of twelve undergraduate, female, disengaged athletes, this qualitative study explored some of the unique and shared experiences that make up these individual's stories as former athletes. Study participants were asked a series of open-ended questions related to their personal athletic history, decision to disengage from athletics, and life after disengagement. Study findings were varied with each participant having a unique story of her experience disengaging from athletics. However, many patterns arose in the findings that showed consistencies with previous research on athletic disengagement. The time commitment involved in being an athlete proved to be a major factor influencing participant's decision to disengage. Many study participants experienced their disengagement as a loss, however individuals forced to disengage due to a health concern typically found the experience much more difficult than those who chose to leave their sport.




iii, 43 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 35-38)