1. Athletic retirement can elicit psychological and emotional difficulties, including depression, eating disorders, decreased self-confidence, and substance abuse.
2. The loss of the athlete role upon retirement affects not only one's athletic identity but one's overall sense of self.
3. Additional research on identity and retirement is warranted, and a longitudinal, prospective design would allow researchers to examine identity in real-time and track identity changes as they took place across the retirement transition process.
The article "Identity and athletic retirement: A prospective study" explores the impact of athletic retirement on the identity of former competitive athletes. The authors review existing literature on the subject, which suggests that athletic retirement can lead to psychological and emotional difficulties, including depression, eating disorders, decreased self-confidence, and substance abuse. The article also discusses how an individual's identity may contain numerous dimensions, but it is possible for one in particular to become dominant or preferred and a lens through which the others are viewed.
The authors argue that athletes who identify strongly with the athlete role in particular may experience post-retirement identity difficulties. They cite several studies that document the overwhelming identity loss and despair collegiate athletes suffered when they were cut or their programs terminated. However, not all available research supports this notion, as some authors have argued that athletic retirement is only one of many life transitions and has no more detrimental impact on the self-image than other life events.
The article presents a longitudinal, prospective design to examine identity in real-time and track identity changes as they took place across the retirement transition process. The study included three interviews with a small group of athletes at one point prior to and two points following their sport withdrawal.
Overall, the article provides valuable insights into the impact of athletic retirement on an individual's identity. However, there are some potential biases in the article. For example, while the authors acknowledge that not all available research supports their argument about post-retirement identity difficulties, they still heavily rely on studies that do support their argument. This could suggest a bias towards confirming their hypothesis rather than exploring alternative perspectives.
Additionally, while the study's longitudinal design is a strength of this research, its small sample size limits its generalizability to other populations. Furthermore, there is no discussion of potential confounding variables or alternative explanations for any observed changes in participants' identities over time.
In conclusion, while "Identity and athletic retirement: A prospective study" provides valuable insights into the impact of athletic retirement on an individual's identity, it is important to consider potential biases and limitations in the research. Further studies with larger sample sizes and more diverse populations are needed to fully understand the complex relationship between athletic retirement and identity.