Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Smith, Thomas J. (Professor)

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


College athletes--Attitudes; College sports--Psychological aspects; Career development


Very few student-athletes will go on to become a professional in their sport; therefore, the vast majority will need to pursue a non-sport career once their collegiate athletic eligibility has ended. Research indicates that a strong athletic identity and identity foreclosure coincide with lower levels of career maturity, which contributes to the struggle that student-athletes often face with their post-sport transition. The majority of student-athletes compete in nonrevenue-producing collegiate sports (e.g., cross country and soccer), but this subgroup has not been adequately examined. This is problematic because research suggests that lower career maturity levels exist among student-athletes in both revenue- and nonrevenue-producing sports compared to non-athletes. As such, student-athletes in nonrevenue sports also may face career development and preparation challenges. To examine the relationships among athletic identity, identity foreclosure, and career maturity, the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS), Extended Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status (EOM-EIS), Career Maturity Inventory Form C (CMI-C), and a demographic questionnaire were completed by NCAA Division I student-athletes who were members of 15 different nonrevenue sports. Latent variable regression analysis was used to address the research questions. Athletic identity was found to be a statistically significant, negative predictor of career maturity, whereby career maturity decreased as athletic identity increased, but a similar relationship between identity foreclosure and career maturity was not discovered. However, a positive correlation between athletic identity and identity foreclosure was found, along with an indirect effect of identity foreclosure on career maturity (with athletic identity as the mediating variable). Additionally, gender, year in school, performance level, and expectations of becoming a professional athlete were not found to moderate the relationships between athletic identity and career maturity, and between identity foreclosure and career maturity. Overall, the current study's findings indicate that athletic identity is an important construct to consider in the career development process of nonrevenue-producing sport student-athletes. The study's limitations are discussed, as well as suggestions for future research.


Advisors: Thomas J. Smith.||Committee members: Todd Gilson; Jorge Jeria.||Includes bibliographical references.


x, 116 pages




Northern Illinois University

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