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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Retirement experiences of elite ballet dancers: Impact of self-identity and social support
Authors: Willard, Victoria
Lavallee, David
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Keywords: Career transition
athletic identity
social support
elite ballet dancers
Issue Date: Aug-2016
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Citation: Willard V & Lavallee D (2016) Retirement experiences of elite ballet dancers: Impact of self-identity and social support, Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, 5 (3), pp. 266-279.
Abstract: This study examined the retirement experiences of elite ballet dancers. Particular emphasis was placed on the influence of self identity and social support on the quality of adjustment to retirement in elite ballet dancers. Six former international elite ballet dancers from a single National Ballet Company in the UK participated in retrospective semi-structured interviews. These interviews yielded transcripts that were analysed using content analysis. As expected, the majority of dancers presented strong and exclusive athletic identities. Those dancers presenting a strong and exclusive athletic identity at the point of retirement experienced identity loss and confusion during the career transition process. Refuting our anticipated outcome, the dancers primary social support network remained intact after career termination. The dancers perceived this continued social support to positively influence the overall quality of career transition experienced. In addition to social support, dancers adopted a combination of coping strategies; predominantly retirement planning and redefinition of self. Future research should focus on identifying specific adjustment difficulties associated with athletic identity during retirement and should identify specific coping strategies adopted to counteract these adjustment difficulties during career transition from dance.
Type: Journal Article
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Rights: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record. Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology by American Psychological Association. The original publication is available at:
Affiliation: University of Stirling
School of Sport

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