Investigation of the challenges facing student-athletes in Irish higher education

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dc.contributor.advisor Chambers, Fiona Catherine en
dc.contributor.advisor Bradley, John en
dc.contributor.author Gomez, Jean-Francois
dc.date.accessioned 2019-08-23T11:33:01Z
dc.date.issued 2019
dc.date.submitted 2019
dc.identifier.citation Gomez, J-F. 2019. Investigation of the challenges facing student-athletes in Irish higher education. PhD Thesis, University College Cork. en
dc.identifier.endpage 232 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10468/8384
dc.description.abstract The student-athlete in the Higher Education system is confronted by multiple challenges and has to be able to manage successfully various spheres (academic, sport, social, psychological…). A wealth of academic research has investigated the student-athlete in North America; however, the same cannot be said about the research conducted among student-athletes in Higher Education in the Republic of Ireland. Drawing on a mixed method approach (initially with a qualitative method via a series of interviews, then with the integration of a self-report measure questionnaire), this doctoral thesis aims to provide a specific understanding on how student-athletes are able to balance the various struggles they will encounter while endeavouring to successfully study and compete at the same time. The purpose of the first study aimed at investigating the challenges of combining high-level sport with academic demands. A series of interviews with nine elite student-athletes (three females, six males) indicated that each student-athletes had developed and adopted various distinct approach towards training management. Most of the student-athletes interviewed experienced different levels of setback in their study and athletic performance due to overtraining or burnout. This study highlighted the need to create a dedicated support network in order to educate and empower student-athletes and coaches. As these struggles are multi-layered and specific to the student-athlete persona, the second study of this doctoral thesis is a longitudinal study aimed at monitoring student-athletes stress and recovery levels over an academic semester. The aim of this study was to provide an insight into the various stressors affecting the stress recovery state of these student-athletes. Nine student-athletes (4 females, 5 males) completed the stress and recovery questionnaire from Kellmann et al. (2001) over the course of 12 weeks, which resulted in 108 filled in questionnaire. The results of this study were twofold: firstly, it indicated the student-athlete population having to face multiple stressors over the course of 12 weeks as the student-athletes taking part in this study were exposed (at key times) to high level of stress (conflicts/pressure, fatigue and emotional stress) and decreased level of recovery (which resulted in a state of under recovery and therefore potential overtraining). Secondly, the outcome of this study highlighted a lack of internal validity by some of the subscales and revealed the need to investigate the questionnaire used for this study and realign it in accordance with the Irish student-athlete population needs and specificity. The third study of this thesis investigated via statistical analysis, the reliability and suitability of the stress and recovery questionnaire used in the second study of this thesis. 174 student-athletes completed this questionnaire anonymously once. A Principal Component Analysis (PCA) followed by a Varimax rotation was used for the General and Sport Specific parts of the questionnaire. The results of this study indicated a lack of suitability of some of the subscales and suggested an improved model fit suitable to the Irish student-athlete population. The fourth and final study aimed at capitalising on these findings by examining and validate via a statistical analysis the improved model fit suggested in the previous chapter of this study. In order to conduct a new and independent study, a new sample of 165 student-athletes filled in the 39 questions, 12 subscales of the new model fit questionnaire suggested in the previous chapter. An Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) with maximum likelihood was conducted to verify the adequate loading of the subscales across the stress and recovery structure and the strength of the correlations between the subscales. The results of this statistical analysis indicated an acceptable level of internal consistency and a satisfactory factorial validity of the 12 subscales. In accordance with the current academic research, the subscales showed relevance and sensitivity to some of the main stressors affecting the student-athletes therefore indicating the suitability of this self-report monitoring instrument adapted to the student-athlete. en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher University College Cork en
dc.rights © 2019, Jean-Francois Gomez. en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ en
dc.subject Student-athletes en
dc.subject Irish higher education en
dc.subject Stress and recovery en
dc.subject Time management en
dc.subject Self-report questionnaire en
dc.subject Wellbeing en
dc.title Investigation of the challenges facing student-athletes in Irish higher education en
dc.type Doctoral thesis en
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en
dc.internal.availability Full text not available en
dc.check.info Restricted to everyone for three years en
dc.check.date 2022-08-22T11:33:01Z
dc.description.version Accepted Version
dc.description.status Not peer reviewed en
dc.internal.school Education en
dc.check.reason This thesis is due for publication or the author is actively seeking to publish this material en
dc.check.opt-out Not applicable en
dc.thesis.opt-out false
dc.check.chapterOfThesis 3,4,5
dc.check.embargoformat Apply the embargo to the e-thesis on CORA (If you have submitted an e-thesis and want to embargo it on CORA) en
ucc.workflow.supervisor f.chambers@ucc.ie
dc.internal.conferring Autumn 2019 en


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