New study on impact of sport careers

Purbrook Park School pupils at Rock Challenge

Waterlooville school loses out at Rock Challenge – but returns home on a high​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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NEW research carried out with the help of a Portsmouth academic has shown how top-level sportspeople can struggle to adjust to life after retirement, with their identities defined by their careers.

The research, published in the journal Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, illustrates how some athletes struggle to adjust socially and psychologically following retirement.

Previous studies have shown in the most extreme cases it can lead to depression, eating disorders and substance abuse.

The study was led by Dr Francesca Cavallerio of Anglia Ruskin University, who worked alongside Dr Chris Wagstaff from the University of Portsmouth.

Dr Wagstaff said: ‘Adapting to retirement is difficult for many people in society and this is particularly the case in elite sport. Such environments are characterised by very clear social and cultural expectations.

‘In order to be successful, athletes typically conform to and associate success with these cultural norms.’