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An analysis of the psychosocial development of college student -athletes

Anne Robinson Mickle, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this study was to analyze the psychosocial development of college student-athletes and to determine if there are differences within the student-athlete population. Attempts were made to survey the entire student-athlete population at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass). Of the approximately 700 student-athletes at UMass, 335 were surveyed. 280 of these surveys were deemed usable for the purposes of this study, yielding a response rate of 40.0%. Seniors were left out of the final discussion due to a low response rate of 16%. The response rate for first year students was 65% making these results the most valid. The Student Development Task and Lifestyle Inventory (SDTLI) was used to examine psychosocial development on three tasks: Establishing and Clarifying Purpose (PUR), Developing Mature Interpersonal Relationships (MIR), and Academic Autonomy (AA). A number of independent variables were used in examining these tasks including sex, type of sport, likelihood of a future in the sport, and grade point average (GPA). GPA and future in sport were found to have the most significant relationships with AA and PUR, while sex was the only variable to have a significant relationship with MIR. Four hypotheses were examined in this study. The first found that women had not achieved a higher level of psychosocial development than men. The second found that those in sports without an anticipated future had developed to a higher degree on the PUR task than those in sports with a possible future. This difference is even greater for men than for women. The third hypothesis found that those in team sports were not developed to a higher level on the MIR task than those in individual sports. Finally, the fourth hypothesis supported the idea that those with a higher GPA would be developed to a higher level on the PUR task than those with a lower GPA. These findings support the idea that there are a number of differences within the student-athlete population and that those with higher GPAs and those in sports without an anticipated future have developed to a higher level than their student-athlete peers. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on helping student-athletes to succeed in the classroom, therefore allowing them more options outside of athletics.

Subject Area

Higher education|Developmental psychology|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Mickle, Anne Robinson, "An analysis of the psychosocial development of college student -athletes" (2001). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3000323.