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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)



First Advisor

Martin Gipson

First Committee Member

Kenneth Beauchamp

Second Committee Member

Christopher Snell

Third Committee Member

Glen Albaugh


Previous research has shown that the incidence of depression is high among newly retired professional male athletes. However, no research has focused on retirement's effects on women athletes. I measured depression and optimism in female college softball players upon retirement using 20 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I softball teams. Forty-one participants were retired and 181 were currently playing. Retired participants were defined as exhausting their college softball eligibility no longer than 3 years prior to the study. Depression was measured by scores on Beck's Depression Inventory (1968) and optimism was measured by scores on The Attributional Style Questionnaire (1978). Statistical methods (t-tests, Chi Square, and Wilkes Lambda) proved successful at finding differences between retirement groups. Results demonstrated that depression was a negative consequence for women in their first year of retirement. Overall, depression scores were lowest in participants in their third year of retirement. Demographic data indicated that remaining involved in sport at some level, either playing, coaching, or teaching, was related to lower depression scores. Results did not show differences in optimism scores. Overall, the results confirmed that retirement is not gender specific, in that women too experience severe emotional consequences when they retire from competition. Further research needs to be devoted to constructing an intervention that can help prepare college and professional athletes for this inescapable exit from sport.




9780591727449 , 0591727447

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