What to do after fame? Career aspirations and expectations of high-performance female athletes

Iago Portela-Pino */**, Millán Brea-Castro **, Javier Raya-González */*** and Myriam Alvariñas-Villaverde **/****

(*) Department of Physical Education and Sports, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Isabel I, 09003 Burgos, Spain
(**) Research Group on Education, Physical Activity and Health (GIES10), Galicia Sur Research Institute (IIS Galicia Sur), SERGAS-UVIGO, 36312 Vigo, Spain
(***) Department of psychoeducational analysis and intervention, Faculty of Education, University of Vigo, 32004 Ourense, Spain
(****) Department of Specifics Didactics, University of Vigo, 36310 Vigo, Spain


Portela-Pino, I., Brea-Castro, M., Raya-González, J., Alvariñas-Villaverde, M. (2023). What to do after fame? Career aspirations and expectations of high-performance female athletes. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 54(6), 466-482. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2023.54.466


Heading Background: The end of a sports career requires a readjustment of habits and demands the need to plan for the medium-term future on the part of female athletes. Hypothesis: H1: Elite athletes with greater social support tend to have higher career aspirations and expectations for retirement. H2: Elite athletes with higher self-esteem tend to have higher aspirations and career expectations for their retirement. Study Design: A cross-sectional observational design was used with a purposive sampling of 243 Spanish elite athletes. Methods: The present study aims to fill a gap in the scientific literature by identifying the career aspirations and expectations of high-performance female athletes. A total of 243 elite female athletes agreed to participate in this study. Results: More than half of the female athletes combine their sporting activity with another work or training activity and do not consider it easy to find a job once they have finished their sporting career, nor do they consider that it would be useful or help them as an experience to find a job. Conclusions: We conclude with recommendations for future policy and practice and for sports psychologists to better support their athletes.

Keywords: Female athletes, Retirement, Career transitions, self-esteem, social support