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Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology$
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Jeffrey J. Martin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190638054

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190638054.001.0001

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Athletic Identity

Athletic Identity

(p.129) 12 Athletic Identity
Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology

Jeffrey J. Martin

Oxford University Press

Some of the first research in disability sport focused on athletic identity using the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS). A large body of research has supported a robust finding that athletes with disabilities view themselves as legitimate athletes, whereas they believe that others (e.g., the able-bodied public) do not view them as athletes as strongly. This chapter examines descriptive and correlational research completed with the AIMS. Descriptive work indicates Paralympians relative to recreational athletes have stronger athletic identities. Correlational research indicates that athletes with strong athletic identities are more competitive and confident and have stronger sport intentions. At the same time, athletes with exclusive athletic identities may be at risk for experiencing negative affect when unable to play. Athletes may disinvest in sport and an athletic identity as their skills wane and they anticipate no longer participating in sport. While a disinvestment in athletic identity can be viewed as a self-esteem protective strategy it might also have negative performance ramifications.

Keywords:   Athletic Identity Measurement Scale, athlete identity, competitiveness, negative affect, Paralympians, self-esteem

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