University student-athletes' experiences of facilitators and barriers to contribution


University student-athletes' contributions in the form of volunteering, community involvement, and civic engagement have been the subject of recent research; however, findings have frequently contrasted each other. The prevalence of contrasting findings indicates a need for research examining the facilitators and barriers to university student-athlete contributions. To date, no studies have specifically examined the facilitators and barriers to contribution in this population. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore the facilitators and barriers to university student-athletes' contributions. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight university student-athletes (two males, six females) from two Canadian universities between 18 and 21 years of age (M = 19.25). Initial analysis of interview transcripts led to the identification of two qualitatively distinct profiles regarding how facilitators and barriers to contributions were experienced. Further investigation of these differences resulted in the identification of two groups of participants who differed in their lived experiences of contributions marked primarily by age and contribution experiences. The two profiles were subsequently labelled as first-year student-athletes and sustained contributors. Although both profiles identified teammates, coaches, and athletics department staff as facilitators to their contribution, they differed in their descriptions of how contributions were facilitated. First-year student-athletes were more reliant than sustained contributors on having facilitators create contribution opportunities or directly invite them to contribute. The profiles also differed in regards to how time constraints were overcome. First-year student-athletes utilized less complex individual time-management strategies, while sustained contributors collaboratively made use of more advanced time-management strategies to optimize their time.

Acknowledgments: Funded by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Masters)