Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Career Maturity Levels of Male Intercollegiate Varsity Athletes

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Career Maturity Levels of Male Intercollegiate Varsity Athletes

Article excerpt

In the 1950s, Super attempted to integrate developmental theory with the concept of occupational choice. He described this development through life stages that were facilitated by maturing abilities and interests (Super, 1953). The validation of his theory was based on the Career Pattern Study, a longitudinal study on the career development of men (Super et al., 1957). Based on this study, he developed the construct of career maturity, defined as a constellation of physical, psychological, and social factors.

Kennedy and Dimick (1987) examined this construct in relationship to athletic participation in revenue sports. They found that student-athletes participating in revenue-producing sports scored significantly lower than did nonathletes on measures of career maturity, and that the mean score for the student-athletes was average for ninth-grade norms. In this study, 66% of the Black student-athletes and 39% of the White student-athletes expected to play professional sports.

Similarly, the American Institutes for Research (1989) stated that approximately 44% of the Black football and basketball players on campuses with a majority of White students indicated that they expected to become professional athletes. Approximately 36% of Black student-athletes at institutions with a majority of Black students voiced similar expectations. Given that less than 2% of high school or college athletes go on to play professional sports (Stanton, 1987), these expectations seemed unrealistic for the majority of student-athletes.

Over the last 10 years, student-athletes have been consistently reporting lower scores than their nonathlete peers on educational and career plans. Sowa and Gressard (1983) indicated that student-athletes scored significantly lower than did a general student population on the Student Developmental Task Inventory scales of educational plans, career plans, and mature relationships with peers. Blann (1985) also discovered that male student-athletes at both Division I and Division III schools "did not formulate mature educational and career plans to as great an extent as did freshman and sophomore male nonathletes" (p. 117). He stated that athletic preoccupation on the part of the male student-athletes may result in inadequate attention being paid to educational and career plans.

The results of participating in athletics may not be the same for all subgroups within the population of student-athletes. Stuart (1985) highlighted the differences in the subpopulations of student-athletes. She found that male student-athletes, Black student-athletes, and student-athletes who participate in revenue sports were in the greatest academic danger.

In her discussion of social factors within athletics, McLaughlin (1986) maintained that student-athletes are not a homogeneous group of individuals. She stated that although Black student-athletes share the same problems as other student-athletes, those problems are compounded by other societal forces that come into play because of racial factors. In analyzing empirical studies that categorized student-athletes by race, McLaughlin stated that the Black students "consistently fall below their white counterparts in grades, in persistence, and in graduation rates..." (p. 34). Kiger and Lorentzen (1986) found that race was the strongest predictor of academic success. Of all the subgroups in the study, Black male players in revenue-producing sports performed most poorly.

The Purposes of this study were to determine whether there are differences on a measure of career maturity (a) between male student-athletes playing in the revenue-producing sports of football and basketball and male student-athletes in nonrevenue-producing sports, (b) between White student-athletes and minority student-athletes, and (c) among the interaction of type of sport (revenue and nonrevenue) and race on a measure of career maturity. For this study, revenue-producing sports were considered to be football and basketball, and nonrevenue-producing sports were defined as wrestling, track, tennis, swimming, lacrosse, soccer, and baseball. …

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