Career transitions in sport

Robert Morris*, Pete Coffee, Hee Jung Hong, Chris Hartley, Nina Verma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter outlines career transitions in sport and their influence on mental health in elite athletes. To start, the chapter defines what career transitions are and the different types of transitions which athletes may face throughout their career, including within career transitions and retirement from sport. Additionally, different constructs which make up career transitions are highlighted; for instance, whether a transition is normative or non-normative in nature. Further, we explain and evaluate the link between career transitions and mental health of elite athletes, with particular focus on how poorly managed transitions may lead to mental health challenges. This chapter then outlines contemporary understanding of the topic area via an outline of the social identity approach which has been purported to explain career transitions. The chapter concludes with three case studies of crises transitions (i.e., those which may cause mental health difficulties) with applied implications focused around preventative and reactive support which can help athletes overcome the challenges they may be facing during the process. In our summary we present unanswered questions, controversies, and future directions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Mental Health in Elite Sport
EditorsInsa Nixdorf, Raphael Nixdorf, Jürgen Beckmann, Scott Martin, Tadhg MacIntyre
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003099345
ISBN (Print)9780367567866
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2023


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