The Relationship between Athletic Identity and Physical Activity among Former College Athletes (pp. 271-284)
Authors: Erin J. Reifsteck, Diane L. Gill, and DeAnne L. Brooks
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between athletic identity
and physical activity among former college athletes. The relationship was first examined
with former Division I athletes (N=56) and then in a second sample of former Division III
athletes (N=18) and non-athletes (N=31) from a small college. All participants (N=105)
completed the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS), the Godin Leisure Time
Exercise Questionnaire, and the Stage of Exercise Behavior Change measure. The AIMS
was a positive predictor of physical activity, and this relationship was stronger for alumni
who had participated in college athletics. While former college athletes had higher AIMS
scores, they were not more active than alumni who did not participate in college athletics.
Former athletes were also more likely than non-athletes to report a decrease in physical
activity after college. Substantial decreases in physical activity after the conclusion of a
collegiate athletic career have important health implications for former college athletes,
which warrant the development of transitional programs that promote lifelong physical
activity participation among NCAA student-athletes.