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Reaching adulthood criteria: comparing student athletes and non-athletes

Urška Levac

pdf Full article (pdf)  |  flag Written in Slovene  |  Published: 21. september 2019



There are great differences between individuals in emerging adulthood. Among them, athletes represent a special group as they coordinate dual careers with two important centres (e.g. sports and education or work). When transitioning from secondary to university level of education, students non-athletes are faced with academic and social stressors, while students athletes face additional challenges related to sports. In our study we wanted to explore the uncharted field of meeting criteria for adulthood in athletes. Namely, we were interested if athletes meet the criteria for adulthood to the same extent as non-athletes. We predicted that athletes were more likely to reach adulthood criteria than non-athletes. Two hundred and forty-one students from the Faculty of Sport in Ljubljana (136 of them male, 96 of them active athletes) participated in the study. The participants completed the questionnaire Conception of the Transition to Adulthood. Overall, the results indicate no significant differences in meeting criteria for adulthood between athletes and non-athletes. Differences are apparent only on two sub-criteria: not deeply tied to parents emotionally (independence) and becoming less self-oriented, developing greater consideration for others (interdependence). Non-athletes meet both criteria to a greater extent than athletes do. Absence of statistically significant differences probably occured, because both groups attend the Faculty of Sport and are more similar than groups of students from different faculties.


athletes, dual career, criteria of adulthood, students, emerging adulthood


Levac, U. (2019). Doseganje meril odraslosti: primerjava med študenti športniki in nešportniki [Reaching adulthood criteria: comparing student athlethes and non-atletes]. Eksperimentator, 3, 9–16.

About the authors

Urška Levac — masters student, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana
Mentor — dr. Saša Cecić Erpič, Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana