Ann T. Burkhardt



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This study strived to determine the impact of being an intercollegiate female student-athlete had on females' ability to develop an identity and internal voice. In order to determine how females integrated their athletic experiences with their sense of self, intercollegiate female student-athletes were asked a series of questions about how their college experiences in general as well as how their academic experiences had affected them. The proposition was that female student-athletes have a challenging time moving to a place where they can listen to their internal voices because the college athletic system is designed in a way where this group is consistently responding to a variety of external authoritative voices during their college experiences such as coaches, advisors, and trainers. Furthermore, previous research suggested that student-athletes who had a stronger manifestation of their student-athlete identity had a more challenging time determining a future path if it is not connected to athletics. Results suggested that the majority of female student athletes experienced a substantive influence on their identity from external authorities and the regimented lifestyle. The choices each student makes in how to handle this pressure determine how the athlete facilitates growth or continues to listen to authority rather than an internal sense of self. Many professionals in the field of higher education would be interested in learning the results of this study including, but not limited to: athletic academic advisors, learning specialists, coaches, career advisors and others. This information may assists higher education professionals to recognize the need to emphasize greater self-reliance in student decision making processes in terms of developing personal identity.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Nasser Razek

Primary Advisor's Department

Counselor Education and Human Services


Stander Symposium project, student affairs, School of Education and Health Sciences

Warm-Ups to Business Suits:  Identity development of female student-athletes at the University of Dayton