Thumbnail Image

Examination of the influence of athletic participation on college adjustment

Stowers, Nicolas A.
College students are faced with adjustment as they enter the new and unfamiliar environment. Strategies of adaptation are developed, some of which are positive and some less positive. Student-athletes have an additional role of maintaining academic eligibility while simultaneously participating at a high level of competition. This study explores differences that might exist in adjustment to college between the student athletes and the non-student athletes. A closer examination of the relationship between athletic participation and the differences between race/ethnicity and gender allows for better decision making for university personnel regarding student athletes' needs. In this way, institutions could proactively respond to these needs and perhaps improve retention rates as well as the level of satisfaction with the overall college experience. The purpose of the study was to explore the relationships between race/ethnicity, gender, and college adjustment of student-athletes compared to non-student-athletes. The complex interactions in the academic, social, personal/emotional and goal commitment/ institutional attachment arenas were examined. Overall 215 Student Adaptation to College Questionnaires (SACQ) were completed by student-athletes and non-athletes at two regional universities in Oklahoma. Of the 215 participants, the number of completed responses was different by survey subscale: demographic 215, academic subscale 199, social subscale 138, Personal-emotional subscale 206, attachment subscale 207, and the full-scale SACQ 131. Findings revealed gender, race/ethnicity, and athletic status were strongly associated with college adjustment and significant interactions and main effects were related to scores on college adjustment. Implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.