Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Kinesiology and Recreation

First Advisor

Scott Pierce


The purpose of this study was to examine and understand how athletic identity and life satisfaction changed in college student-athletes during their college careers and explore the factors that influenced the changes in athletic identity over time. Specifically, the three research questions were: (1) how does athletic identity, and its dimensions (social identity, exclusivity, and negative affectivity), and life satisfaction change in college student-athletes over a college career? (2) what are student-athlete perspectives on the factors influencing changes of athlete identity over a college career? And (3) what is the relationship between athletic identity and life satisfaction? The study included 2 phases: one in 2019 and the other in 2023. Phase 1 occurred included a sample of 73 NCAA Division I collegiate student-athletes who completed the Redbird Resilience program at Illinois State University. Phase 2 took place in 2023 (senior year) and 32 Division I collegiate student-athlete participated from the original sample. The athletes completed the following questionnaires at four time points over their college career: Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Findings revealed that total athletic identity remained relatively constant through the 4 years. However, significant changes occurred in all of the subscales (social identity, exclusivity, and negative affectivity) as well as in life satisfaction. Our findings showed significant decreases in exclusivity and negative affectivity over time as well as significant increases in life satisfaction and social identity. Some of the perceived reasons for change included: coach’s support, social status, family support, medical retirement, playing time, future plans and teammate support. Lastly, we found that life satisfaction was positively associated with social identity and negatively associated with exclusivity. These findings add to the existing literature with the specific focus on the changes in the AIMS subscales over time. Additionally, this study can help practitioners create programs that help athletes successfully navigate transitioning out of sport.


Imported from Kisvari_ilstu_0092N_12380.pdf


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