Can Good Come From Bad? An Examination of Adversarial Growth in Division I NCAA Athletes
Keywords:stress, coping, growth, resilience
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to examine adversarial growth in a sample of Division I NCAA athletes. Male and female athletes (n = 214) from three universities completed the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory from the perspective of an adversity experienced as a college athlete. The athletes reported positive change at low to moderate levels resulting from their most difficult adversity, and indicated the most improvement in personal strength. Female athletes reported greater spiritual growth, as well as more of a change in their ability to relate to others than their male counterparts. Of the three types of adversities analyzed (i.e., time demands, injury, and the mental and physical stress of sport), athletes who reported time demands as their most difficult adversity exhibited more appreciation for life than athletes who cited the mental and physical stress of sport. These findings are consistent with studies of growth in college student nonathletes (e.g., Anderson & Lopez-Baez, 2008; 2011), and support the notion that college is a pivotal time for personal development (Chickering & Reisser, 1993). Practitioners are advised to consider the potential for adversarial growth in the athletes with whom they work so that they may be able to recognize and facilitate the growth process.
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