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  • 1.
    Franck, Alina
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    The junior-to-senior transition in Swedish athletes: A longitudinal study2018Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation project was an exploration of junior-to-senior transition (JST) processes in Swedish sport club athletes based on holistic, developmental, and ecological perspectives. It consists of two multi-level studies covered by four separate articles. The first study is a quantitative longitudinal investigation of athletes’ transitional and personal variables during a two-and-a-half-year period including five measurements times (N = 101). The second study is a qualitative exploration of the JST pathways of four athletes who were also participants of the first study; the athletes’ transition narratives could be related to the previously discovered dynamics of their JSTs.

         The first article (1a), presenting study 1, is focused on identifying profiles of athletes in the JST based on some of their personal characteristics (athletic identity, self-esteem, and goal orientation) followed by a description of the JST pathways relevant to their profiles. The latent profile analysis resulted in three athlete profiles. Athletic identity appeared to be a key personal characteristic that influenced the dynamics of the JST adjustment. Different styles of coping strategies were also associated with different JST pathways.

         The second article (1b), presenting study 1, is aimed at identifying adjustment patterns in the JST based on athletes’ dynamics of adjustment during a two-and-a-half-year period, and describes the athletes’ demographics, personal and transitional characteristics at the beginning of the JSTs that were related to the different adjustment patterns. The latent profile analysis on athletes’ perceived degree of adjustment provided three profiles with different adjustment patterns (i.e., progressive, regressive, sustainable). Further analyses (descriptive statistics and Cohen’s d) showed that keeping a primary focus on sport (without ignoring other spheres of life), having a strong athletic identity, and a high motivation to reach the senior level were (to different degrees) relevant for both progressive and sustainable adjustment patterns.

         The first article (2a), presenting study 2, qualitatively explores two individual sport athletes’ (a male swimmer and a female tennis player) JST transition pathways, emphasising psychosocial factors that were perceived as facilitating and debilitating for the transition process. Narrative type interviews were used, and the holistic-form structural analysis provided a central storyline – a performance narrative – that was common for both athletes and two individual side storylines that were the swimmer’s effort and relationship narrative and the tennis player’s injury and reorientation narrative. Both athletes experienced various crossroads and shared perceptions of the factors facilitating coping (e.g., family, some coaches, elite sport club environment), but their reflections on the debilitating psychosocial factors of their JSTs were more individualistic than their views on the facilitating factors..

         The second article (2b), presenting study 2, has the same objectives and the same methodology as article 2a, but focuses on two team sport athletes’ (a male football player and a female basketball player) JST pathways. The football player’s JST path developed into a performance and family narrative, and the basketball player’s reflections on the transition process formed an enjoyment and relationship narrative. The players’ JST paths were lined with different crossroads, and throughout the transitions they perceived the key facilitating persons to be their families (e.g., parents, grandparents, siblings) and teammates, but some of the coaches’ behaviors were perceived as debilitating factors.

    Major contributions to knowledge in this dissertation project include: (a) considering the JST (longitudinally) as a process involving dynamics and interactions of the transition demands, coping strategies, personal and environmental resources, and barriers influencing the JST outcome; (b) supporting the athletic career transition model in combination with the holistic, developmental, and ecological perspectives as adequate frameworks to study the JST; (c) suggesting that the integrated JST framework supported by the empirical findings can be used in the future research; (d) demonstrating significant variations in the JST pathways and adjustment patterns on the sub-group level (study 1) and also on the individual level (study 2); and (e) providing context-specific recommendations for different levels of the Swedish sport system for optimizing Swedish sport club athletes’ JSTs and supporting their continued sport participation on either the senior elite or the recreational level.

  • 2.
    Franck, Alina
    et al.
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Psychology. Halmstad University, Sweden.
    Stambulova, Natalia B.
    Halmstad University, Sweden.
    The junior to senior transition: a narrative analysis of the pathways of two Swedish athletes2019In: Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, ISSN 2159-676X, E-ISSN 2159-6778, Vol. 11, no 3, p. 284-298Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    There are as many careers with various pathways as there are athletes, and the interest in the junior-to-senior transition (JST) stems from its particular importance for athletes’ lives when aiming for the senior elite levels of their sports. This study is a follow-up of the quantitative longitudinal study that investigated the JST process in Swedish sport club athletes. The aim of this study was to explore two athletes’ (pseudonyms Erik, the swimmer, and Jessika, the tennis player) JST transition pathways, emphasising psychosocial factors that were perceived as facilitating and debilitating the transition process. Narrative-type interviews were conducted, and the stories were analysed using the holistic-form structural analysis. The analysis provided a central storyline (performance narrative) that is similar for both athletes, and two side storylines: Erik’s effort and relationship narrative and Jessika’s injury and reorientation narrative. They shared psychosocial factors that were perceived as facilitating the transition process, including family, coaches and sport club environment. For Erik, the debilitating factors were the negative changes in the group and a poor relationship with the new coach. The debilitating factors that influenced Jessika’s JST were the decrease/loss of financial support and the challenge of facing younger opponents against whom she felt she shouldn’t lose when making a comeback after an injury. After the JST, both Erik and Jessika changed their tracks in life, terminated their athletic careers and focused on pursuing higher education qualifications. © 2018, © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

  • 3.
    Franck, Alina
    et al.
    Halmstad university.
    Stambulova, Natalia
    Halmstad university.
    Ivarsson, Andreas
    Halmstad university.
    Swedish athletes’ adjustment patterns in the junior-to-senior transition2018In: International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, ISSN 1612-197X, E-ISSN 1557-251X, Vol. 16, no 4, p. 398-414Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The specific objectives of this study were: (a) to identify adjustment patterns in the junior-to-senior transition (JST) based on athletes’ dynamics of adjustment during a two-and-a-half-year period, and (b) to describe the athletes’ demographic, personal and transitional characteristics at the beginning of the JST that were related to the different adjustment patterns. This quantitative longitudinal study consisted of five measurements conducted approximately every six months over a two-and-a-half-year period. One instrument was used to measure the transition variables and three instruments to measure personal characteristics. In the first measurement, 101 club-based Swedish athletes with the mean age of 16.51 (SD = 1.32) took part. The latent profile analysis on athletes’ perceived degree of adjustment provided three profiles with different patterns in the JST. Profile 1 had a progressive adjustment pattern, whereas the second profile had a regressive adjustment pattern, and the third profile had a sustainable adjustment pattern. The descriptive statistics and Cohen’s d indicated that there were differences (with variation in magnitude) between the three profiles at the first measurement in terms of how athletes perceived different transitional characteristics. Keeping a primary focus on sport (but also having attention to other spheres of life), high athletic identity and motivation to reach senior level were characteristics relevant for both progressive and sustainable adjustment patterns.

  • 4.
    Franck, Alina
    et al.
    Halmstad university.
    Stambulova, Natalia
    Halmstad university.
    Weibull, Fredrik
    University of Birmingham, UK.
    Profiles of personal characteristics and relevant pathwaysin the junior-to-senior transition: A longitudinal study of Swedish athletes2016In: International Journal of Sport Psychology, ISSN 0047-0767, Vol. 47, no 6Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this study the specific foci were as follows: (1) to identify profiles of athletes in the junior-to-senior transition (JST) based on their personal characteristics (athletic identity, self-esteem and goal orientation) and (2) to describe the JST pathways relevant to the profiles. This quantitative longitudinal study included five measurements that were conducted approximately every six months. The following package of four instruments was used: the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (Brewer, Van Raalte, & Linder, 1993), the Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire (Duda, 1989), the self-esteem sub-scale from the Physical Self-Perception Profile – Revised (Lindwall, Hagger, & Asci, 2007) and the Transition Monitoring Survey (Stambulova, Franck, & Weibull, 2012). In the first measurement 100 club-based Swedish athletes (73 male and 27 female) with the mean age of 16.51 (SD = 1.32) participated. The Latent Profile Analysis resulted in three profiles of athletes. Further, several similarities and differences were found in the JST pathways between athletes representing the three profiles. Athletic identity appeared to be a key personal characteristic that influenced the dynamics of the JST adjustment. Different styles of coping strategies were also associated with different JST pathways. The JST pathways relevant to the profiles are discussed based on the theoretical framework and previous research.

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