At the end of the athletic career: challenges and problems of a critical transition. An Italian study

Chiara D'Angelo, Caterina Gozzoli, Monica Mozzarelli

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaContributo a convegno


Cultural, technological and demographic changes that happen in society have had strong repercussions in the working world. Scholars speak about boundaryless careers, dynamic and multidimensional careers characterized by insecurity and flexibility. This is leading to a serious impact on work identity process. Athletic careers are very specific and with distinct characteristics, but they also have many elements in common with today professional careers: insecurity, a strong bond with the results achieved, competitiveness. From a psychological point of view it is particularly interesting during the transition processes in which they occur. These include the transition at the end of an athletic career, which is particularly interesting to deepen the understanding of the effects on the identity of former athletes. Recent studies have shown that an athletic career can better understood when it is anchored in social and cultural characteristics. In the Italian context there are a few existing studies on this topic regarding football players at the end of their careers, while the athletic retirement in other professional sports has not yet been explored. This study aims to fill this gap, it is an in-depth qualitative research (by an interpretative phenomenological approach) and explores some characteristics of the athletic retirement in Italy, comparing the experiences of this process between ex-footballers and former athletes in other sports. 30 semi-structured interviews were conducted (15 ex-footballers and 15 ex-athletes from other sports), all the former athletes had a professional international athletic career. The transcripts of the interviews were subjected to a phenomenological analysis of the content using the software Nvivo. The data analysis in now ongoing. It emerges that there is a poor culture and lack of interest to take charge of this delicate professional transition process in Italy. The protective factors seem to be the relational network of family support and strong ties with prestigious clubs. The present study has different implications. In terms of research, it would be interesting to make a extensive survey on the Italian sample, in order to better understand the national situation and make better a comparison between football and other sports. Such research data could stimulate debate in order to implement accompanying programs for athletic careers from the beginnings of talent development through to sport retirement.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)45-45
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2015
EventoA bridge from the past to the future - international society of sport psychology - Roma
Durata: 19 apr 201520 apr 2015


  • athletic career
  • critical transition


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