Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Gregory Cranmer

Committee Member

Dr. Erin Ash

Committee Member

Dr. Rikishi Rey

Committee Member

Dr. Joseph McGlynn


Student-athletes who compete at the Division-I level typically receive much public exposure and attention during their athletic careers, often leading them to form a high athletic identity. As such, they often need help transitioning away from the athletic competitor role following their retirement. This process, known as socialization out of sport (SOS), is characterized by a loss of purpose and identity for student-athletes and can harm their overall well-being and quality of life. Establishing the empirical associations between SOS's proposed characteristics/features (e.g., the impetus of SOS, educational status, athletic identity, and sense of closure) and former student-athletes’ subsequent life experiences is essential. Moreover, social relationships and support may act as a buffer against the uncertainties and stressors of SOS and can aid this transition. To date, SOS literature has exclusively relied on non-generalizable, phenomenological research and remained siloed based on topical interests (e.g., identity). This thesis integrates multiple parallel bodies of SOS scholarship and uses a quantitative approach to examine student-athletes' SOS to provide generalizable findings and comparative insights into which characteristics/features of SOS and sources/types of social support account for aspects of former student-athletes’ experiences. Results of this study indicate closure is the paramount characteristic of SOS in determining well-being outcomes; furthermore, personal support from athletic staff was found to positively predict mental health, whereas task support served as a negative predictor of mental health. Policy implications and future research endeavors are also discussed.



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