chapter  30
10 Pages

Identity foreclosure in sport

ByAlbert J. Petitpas, Thaddeus France

From a psychosocial perspective, the primary task of late adolescence is to establish a sense of personal identity. Individuals who explore a variety of activities and interact with people from different backgrounds are in the best position to learn about themselves and to make informed decisions about various life options. Exploratory behavior not only provides the experiences and information that people need to solidify their values, interests, and skills, but also enables them to develop coping strategies and confidence in their abilities to be successful in adult life. Unfortunately, athletes may be prone to putting too much of their time and energy into sport participation and may not engage in the exploratory behavior that is critical to establishing a sense of self-identity (Brown, Glastetter-Fender, & Shelton, 2000). Athletes who do not engage in exploratory behaviors, but make firm commitments to sport as their primary source of identity, have been described as being in a state of identity foreclosure. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the construct of identity foreclosure in athletes and explore related implications for practitioners.