Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dean F. Anderson


The present study examined the strength of the relationship between level of identification with the role of athlete (athletic identity), identity foreclosure, and career maturity among 367 male and female Division III student-athletes participating in basketball, track and field, soccer, and cross country from four colleges in a nationally competitive NCAA Division III athletic conference in the Midwest. Questionnaire data showed that 91% of the respondents identified as Caucasian and 55% were male. The average age of participants was 19.96 years, and freshman (38%), sophomores (26.8%), juniors (21.1%), and seniors (13.2%) were all represented in the sample. Instruments that comprised the questionnaire included the 50-item Attitude Scale of the Career Maturity Inventory (CMI), the 10-item Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS), the 6-item Foreclosure Subscale of the Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status (OM-EIS), and the 10-item Public-Private Athletic Identity Scale (PPAIS). Demographic questions were also included.

Pearson product moment correlations showed that identity foreclosure scores (r = -.13, p < .05), AIMS scores (r = -.15, p < .01), public athletic identity scores (r = -.34, p < .01), private athletic identity scores (p < -.16, p < .01), and PPAIS total scores (r = -.33, p < .01) were all inversely related to career maturity scores. A stepwise regression analysis with career maturity as the dependent variable showed that public athletic identity entered first and explained 11% of the variance in career maturity. Private athletic identity was the only other significant association and added 1% more variance explained. A MANOVA found no significant main effect for gender, but did show a significant main effect for specific sport Wilks' λ = .88, F(10, 706) = 4.59, p < .01. Univariate analyses suggested that basketball players displayed higher levels of identity foreclosure (η2 = .09) and public athletic identity (η2 = .02) than track and field/cross country and soccer, and that track and field/cross country showed the highest level of career maturity (η2 = .02) of the three groups. Although the relationships found in the present study are in the same direction as shown with previous research among NCAA Division I student-athletes, the relationships among this sample of NCAA Division III student-athletes were much weaker. These data suggest that NCAA Division III student-athletes may negotiate their identity hierarchies differently than student-athletes competing at the NCAA Division I level and the public and private athletic identity may be more important in predicting career maturity than a general measure of athletic identity (AIMS).


Copyright Owner

Katherine Rae Whipple



Date Available


File Format


File Size

67 pages