Female Varsity Athletes’ Perceptions of The Development of Optimism

  • Author / Creator
    deBeaudrap, Hayley L
  • This study examined female athletes’ perceptions of how they became optimistic. In order to identify optimistic athletes, 83 members of female varsity sport teams at the University of Alberta completed a sport-specific version of the Life Orientation Test (LOT; Dunn, Causgrove Dunn, & Lizmore, 2015). Nine participants (M age = 19 years) who scored high in optimism (M score = 36.89, SD = 1.9) then completed individual semi-structured interviews. Seven of these participants also completed a member-checking interview. Data analysis followed Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009). Results were organized across a developmental framework documenting shared aspects of participants’ perspectives of experiences that contributed to development of optimism during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. During childhood participants perceived that their parents were supportive, provided feedback, and allowed them to have choice over the sports in which they participated. During adolescence coaches began to play a more important role in developing optimism and participants were able to learn about being optimistic through experiences, particularly negative experiences. Finally, during early adulthood participants developed personal narratives about the ways in which they approached sport with optimism. Practical implications arising from these findings include increasing parents’, coaches’, and athletes’ understanding of how to increase the development of optimism.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.