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Title: Poor mental health outcomes in crisis transitions: an examination of retired athletes accounting of crisis transition experiences in a cultural context
Contributor(s): Cosh, S M  (author)orcid ; McNeil, D G  (author); Tully, P J  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2021
Early Online Version: 2020-05-31
DOI: 10.1080/2159676X.2020.1765852
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Abstract: Up to 20% of retiring athletes continue to experience crisis transitions, characterised by a lack of adjustment, ongoing psychological distress, depression and low self-esteem. Crisis transitions remain under researched compared with transition difficulties, especially within cultural sport psychology. This study aims to explore crisis transitions and related psychological distress within a cultural context. The media is a site of cultural exploration, thus this study examines data from the Australian media: specifically, a two-part special of a current affairs programme (120 minutes of footage) that examined the crisis transitions of nine former elite Australian athletes. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis, located within a constructionist epistemology. The focus of analysis was on the broad repeated patterns of representation around experiences of and reasons for crisis transitions. Athletes depicted transitions predominately as difficult, invoking diagnostic language, including depression and substance abuse, to further constructions of transition distress. However, transition was also presented as a relief and an ongoing process, using varying constructions of choice in order to produce different versions of retirement. A range of themes were identified in accounting for these experiences during crisis transitions: sport was constructed as an addiction, inactivity partly related to lack of activities and self-worth was invoked, as well as constructions of abandonment by sporting organisations. The findings contribute to the cultural praxis of transitions and crisis transition literature by extending understanding around these experiences and resultant poor athlete mental health. Implications for career assistance programs and supporting retiring athletes are outlined.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 13(4), p. 604-623
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 2159-6778
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
170114 Sport and Exercise Psychology
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 520304 Health psychology
520107 Sport and exercise psychology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 920505 Occupational Health
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 200507 Occupational health
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Psychology

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