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Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Kinesiology- Sport and Exercise Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Human Development

First Advisor

Arthur-Cameselle, Jessyca

Second Advisor

Keeler, Linda

Third Advisor

Robey, Hillary


Forced athletic retirement has been associated with negative mental health symptoms within intercollegiate and elite populations (Blakelock et al., 2016; Wippert & Wippert, 2010), yet less is known about adolescent athletes who retire. The purpose of the current study was to assess the mental health symptoms and flourishing of former non-elite adolescent athletes to determine if there were any group differences based on reasons for retirement, gender, or perceptions of control. Using random stratified sampling, 347 former adolescent athletes (Mage = 19.94) were recruited from colleges across the United States. Of the sample, 43% of participants retired for forced (i.e., injury/illness, deselection, COVID-19) reasons and 57% percent expected sport retirement (i.e., graduation). Using anonymous online surveys, participants completed measures of psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and flourishing. MANOVAs revealed statistically significant higher negative mental health scores among participants who were forced to retire compared to those who expected retirement (p = p2 = .07) and there were lower negative mental health symptoms reported by those who perceived control over retirement (p = .004, hp2 = .03). Lastly, an independent samples t-test revealed that individuals who expected retirement reported statistically significant higher levels of flourishing (p = .001, d= 0.35) compared to those who were forced to retire. Career planning and clinical supported services may be beneficial for this population.




Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

College athletes--Retirement; College athletes--Mental health; Teenage athletes--Retirement; Teenage athletes--Mental health; Teenage athletes--Psychology; Sports injuries




masters theses




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