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Understanding Social Support During the Transition Out of Elite Sport

Brown, Christopher James (2018) Understanding Social Support During the Transition Out of Elite Sport. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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The research described in this thesis explored the role of social support during the transition out of elite sport, more commonly referred to as ‘retirement’. The research positioned social support as a dynamic, intersubjective, and relational process that reflects the knowledge and experiences that athletes share with people in their close social networks. This facilitated an understanding of transition as a social experience with wide reaching impacts for the way that athletes, and those in their social network, manage and adjust to the changes that they experience during the process of retirement. Three empirical studies are presented. Study 1 used an interpretive phenomenological methodology to explore the ways that athletes experience and make sense of social support during transition. Study 2 also used an interpretive phenomenological methodology to explore social support from the perspective of people who provide it. More specifically, Study 2 investigated how parents and partners of former elite athletes experienced transition and how they managed and interpreted their role as providers of support. Study 3 was a realist evaluation of a psychoeducational programme to support athletes’ adjustment in transition. The programme was designed using existing theoretical and empirical knowledge of transition, and the findings of Studies 1 and 2. Taken together, the findings of the research described in this thesis emphasise the importance of social support as a basis for successful transition, but also shed light on the complexities of social life and relationships during the process of transition. Conceptualising social support as a shared, intersubjective process, comprising complex relational dynamics can open up new ways of thinking about the transition out of sport, and offers the potential to develop innovative interventions to ensure that the right athletes get the right support at the right time.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mr Christopher James Brown
Date Deposited: 28 May 2019 09:08
Last Modified: 28 May 2019 09:08
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24067

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