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The Journal of SPORT

Abstract

This study explored the relationship between the athletic identity and career maturity of women’s basketball student-athletes. It specifically looked at the differences in athletic identity and career maturity based on the student-athlete’s level of competition, race, year in school, socioeconomic status, and professional athletic career aspirations. A convenience sample of 209 women’s basketball student-athletes from NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, as well as NAIA institutions participated in the study. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire along with the Career Maturity Inventory-Revised Attitude Scale and the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale. The findings suggest that within this sample of women’s basketball student-athletes, stronger identification with the athletic role is associated with lower levels of career maturity. Results also indicated that NCAA Division I student-athletes had significantly higher levels of athletic identity and significantly lower levels of career maturity than Division II student-athletes. Likewise, women’s basketball student-athletes that planned to pursue a professional basketball career (n = 76) displayed significantly higher levels of athletic identity and significantly lower levels of career maturity than those that did not (n = 133). As research suggests, less than 1% of women’s basketball student-athletes will compete professionally (NCAA, 2017a). However, based on the findings of the current study, 36.4% (n = 76) of the women’s basketball student-athletes sampled planned to pursue a professional basketball career upon graduating. The results of this study can assist individuals working with these student-athletes (e.g., coaches, counselors, professors) to intervene and ultimately assist women’s basketball student-athletes with preparation for life after sports.

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