Might “Early Identity Maturation” Be a More Inclusive Concept Than Identity Foreclosure? Identity and School Alienation in Adolescent Student Athletes and Non-Athletes

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Boz B. , Kiremitci O.

AIESEP 2021, Banff, Canada, 8 - 10 June 2021

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Unpublished
  • City: Banff
  • Country: Canada


Consideration of psycho-social identity models are limited in student athlete studies while many studies focus on “Athletic Identity”. Besides, studies seem to focus on result-oriented outcomes of educational life such as academic performance, motivation and career development when evaluating identity foreclosure in student athletes. However, the concept of school alienation, which includes academic, social, psychological and organizational aspects, may contribute to understanding student athletes’ foreclosure and educational outcomes with multi-dimensional approach. The aim of the present study is to examine identity development and school alienation states of adolescent student athletes and their non-athlete peers. 2422 individuals (1238 (51.1%) student athletes, 1184 (48.9%) non-athletes) participated in the study. Based on Erikson and Marcia identity theories, Dimensions of Identity Development Scale and Athletic Identity Measurement Scale were used. Student Alienation Scale was used as to measure school alienation on the basis of Seeman’s alienation concept. Findings show statistically significant differences on commitment making, identification with commitment, exploration in depth and ruminative exploration dimensions between student athletes and non-athlete peers. No significant difference was found between the two groups ­­on the exploration in breadth. According to hierarchical cluster analysis; student athletes’ distribution in mature identity status is higher while non-athletes show higher distribution in less mature status. Although non-athletes have more unfavorable tendencies in school alienation, effect sizes are considerably small. Commitment is a significant predictor of school alienation in student athletes. Increase in parameters associated with time spent in sport and mastering may adversely affect school alienation in student athletes. In conclusion, the concept of early identity maturation may provide a more comprehensive sense than identity foreclosure in student athlete population. Student athletes have multi-directional tendencies in terms of both identity development and school alienation; thus, single directional evaluations and over-generalizations should be avoided.