Enter your details:
Thank you for subscribing.
Subscribe to our newsletter!

Vesna Babic1, Gordana Bjelic2, Ksenija Bosnar1

1University of Zagreb, Faculty of Kinesiology, Zagreb, Croatia
2Hospitality and Tourism High School, Zagreb, Croatia

Life Well-Being and Reasons for the Termination of Sport Careers among Croatian Elite Athletes

Sport Mont 2019, 17(3), 21-25 | DOI: 10.26773/smj.191008


Ending a sports’ career can be a traumatic event in elite athletes’ lives. The success of the adjustment to a new way of life can greatly depend on the reasons for ending the career. This research paper aimed to establish a relationship between life well-being and reasons for the ending of sport careers. This research study was conducted on a sample of 170 elite Croatian male and female athletes who terminated their active sport career. Three scales measuring life well-being were employed: Scale of Life Quality, Scale of Life Well-being, and Extended Satisfaction with Life Scale. The eight most common reasons for ending a sport career were offered; the answers were given in binary mode with the possibility to give more reasons for career termination. The relationship between life well-being and reasons for ending one’s sport career was determined via canonical and quasi-canonical correlation analysis. Prior to analysis, binary variables were normalized. A canonical correlation analysis showed one significant correlation with a magnitude of 0.362, significant at p=0.036, while a quasi-canonical analysis showed only one significant correlation with a magnitude of 0.23, significant at p=0.003. The analyses show two different relationships between the current life well-being of retired athletes and the reasons for their career ending; they could be explained by sport identity and deliberate or involuntary sport retirement.


life well-being, elite athletes, reasons for sport career termination

View full article
(PDF – 160KB)


Alfermann, D., Stambulova, N., & Zemaityte, A. (2004). Reactions to sport career termination: a cross-national comparison of German, Lithuanian, and Russian athletes Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 5(1), 61–75. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1469-0292(02)00050-X

Andrews, F.M., & Withey, S.B. (1976). Social Indicators of Well-Being, Americans’ Perceptions of Life Quality. Springer US, Plenum Press, New York. doi 10.1007/978-1-4684-2253-5.

Bezinović, P. (1988). Perception of personal competence as a dimension of self-respect. Doctoral thesis. Faculty of Philosophy. University of Zagreb, Zagreb.

Cecić Erpič, S., Wylleman, P., & Zupančič, M. (2004). The effect of athletic and non-athletic factors on the sports career termination process. Psychology of Sport and Exercice, 5, 45–59.

Cecić Erpič, S., & Wylleman, P. (2005). Socio-psychological perspective on traumatic retirement from sports. In D. Milanović, & F. Prot (Eds.), Proceedings of 4th International Scientific Conference on Kinesiology: Science and profession -Challenge for the future (pp. 654-657). Opatija: Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb.

DeNeve, K.M., & Cooper, H. (1998). The Happy Personality: A Meta-Analysis of 137 Personality Traits and Subjective Well-Being. Psychological Bulletin, 124(2), 197-229. http://psycnet.apa.org/buy/1998-10661-003

Diener, E., Emmons, R.A., Larsen, R.J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction With Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49(1), 71-75.

Diener, E., & Diener, C. (1996). Most People Are Happy. Psychological Science, 3(7), 181–185. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.1996.tb00354.x

Diener, E., (2005). Guidelines for National Indicators of Subjective Wellbeing and Ill-being. (Distributed by e-mail communication to ISQOLS list server group).

Eger, R.J., & Maridal, J.H. (2015). A statistical meta-analysis of the well-being literature. International Journal of Well-being, 5(2), 45-74. https://doi.org/10.5502/ijw.v5i2.

Fraser, L., Fogarty, G., & Albion, M. (2009). A longitudinal analysis of the transition to retirement from elite sport: Athletic identity, life satisfaction and career indecision. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 12(2), e174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2009.10.366

Grob, A. (1995). A Structural Model of Environmental Attitudes and Behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 15, 209-220. https://doi.org/10.1016/0272-4944(95)90004-7.

Haerle, R.K. (1975). Career patterns and career contingencies of professional baseball players: An occupational analysis. In D.W. Ball & J.W. Loy (Eds.), Sport and social order (pp. 461–519). Reading, MA: Addison–Wesley.

Hallden, O. (1965). The adjustment of athletes after retiring from sport. In F. Antonelli (Ed.), Proceedings of the first international congress of sport psychology (pp. 730–733). Rome: International Society of Sport Psychology.

Hotelling, H. (1936). Relations between two sets of variates. Biometrika, 28, 321-377. https://doi.org/10.1093/biomet/28.3-4.321

Krizmanić, M., & Kolesarić, V. (1992). Handbook for Quality Scale Implementation. Jastrebarsko: Naklada slap.

Lavallee, D., Gordon, S., & Grove, J.R. (1997). Retirement from sport and the loss of athletic identity. Journal of Personal and Interpersonal Loss, 2, 129–147. htps://doi.org/10.1080/10811449708414411

Leung, M.I., Carre, A., & Fu, F.H. (2005). Retirement rationale for Chinese female elite athletes. International Journal of Eastern Sport and Physical Education, 3(1), 87-94. http://www.athleticinsight.com/Vol6Iss3/WhatEverHappened.htm

Lucas, R.E., Diener, E., & Suh, E. (1996). Discriminant validity of well-being measures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3(71), 616-628. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.71.3.616

Marthinus, J. (2007). Psychological Effects on Retirement on Elite Athletes Dissertation (Sport Science). At Stellenbosch University Promoter: Professor Justus R. Potgieter. http://scholar.sun.ac.za/handle/10019.1/1133

Mihovilović, M. (1968). The status of former sportsmen. International Review of Sport Sociology, 3, 73–93. https://doi.org/10.1177/101269026800300105

Mišura, D. (2011). Model of Sustainable Happiness. In G.Vuletić, ed., Quality of Life and Health, (pp. 21-31). Osijek: Faculty of Philosophy University of J. Strossmayer in Osijek https://bib.irb.hr/datoteka/592441.KVALITETA_IVOTA_I_ZDRAVLJE.pdf

Momirović, K., Dobrić, V., & Karaman, Z. (1983) Canonical covariance analysis. Proceedings of 50 International Symposium “Computer at the University”, 5(1), 1-11.

Momirović, K., Štalec, J., Prot, F., Bosnar, K., Viskić-Štalec, N., Pavičić, L., & Dobrić, V. (1984) Computer Programming and Selection, Programming and Control Training. Faculty of Physical Culture, Zagreb.

Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (1993). Review of the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Psychological Assessment, 5(2), 164-172. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-90-481-2354-4_5

Park, S., Tod, D., & Lavallee, D. (2012). Exploring the Retirement from Sport Decision-making Process based on the Transtheoretical Model. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13, 444-453. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2012.02.003

Penezić, Z. (1999). Life Satisfaction: Relationships with Lifetime and Some Personal Features (Master’s Thesis). Zagreb: Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb

Petitpas, A.J., Champagne, D., Chartrand, J., Danish, S., & Murphy, S. (1997). Athlete’s guide to career planning. Keys to success from the playing field to professional life. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. https://cvt823cmj06.storage.googleapis.com/MDg3MzIyNDU5MA==06.pdf

Sindik, J., & Rendulić, D. (2012). Life satisfaction and general life experience in judo and. other sport coaches. Sport Science, 5(1), 53‐58.

Schlossberg, N.K. (1981). A model for analyzing human adaptation to transition. The Counseling psychologist, 9(2), 2-18. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/001100008100900202

Smith, J.L., & McManus, A. (2008). A Review on Transitional Implications for Retiring Elite Athletes: What Happens When the Spotlight Dims? The Open Sports Sciences Journal, 1, 45-49. http://sportsconflict.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Review-of-Transitional-Implications-for-Retiring-Elite-Athletes.pdf https://doi.org/10.2174/1875399X00801010045

Stambulova, N. (1994). Developmental sports career investigations in Russia: A post-Perestroika analysis. The Sport Psychologist, 8, 221–237. https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.8.3.221

Stambulova, N., Alfermann, D., Statler, T., & Côté, J. (2009). Career Development and Transitions of Athletes. ISSP Position Stand: IJSEP, 7, 395-412. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2009.9671916

Torregrosa, M., Boixadós, M., Valiente, L., & Cruz, J. (2004). Elite athletes’ image of retirement: the way to relocation in sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 5(1), 35–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1469-0292(02)00052-3

Tshube, T., & Feltz D.L. (2015).The relationship between dual-career and post-sport career transition among elite athletes in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 21, 109-114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2015.05.005

Veenhoven, R. (2006a). Sociology’s blind eye for happiness. Paper presented at the 16th World Congress of Sociology, Durban, South Africa.

Veenhoven, R. (2006b). How do we assess how happy we are? Tenets, implications and tenability of three theories. Paper presented at conference on ‘New Directions in the Study of Happiness: United States and International Perspectives’, University of Notre Dame, USA, October 22‐24.

Vuletić, G., & Misajon, R. (2011). Subjective quality of life: historical review. In G. Vuletić, ed., Quality of Life and Health, (pp. 9-16). Osijek: Faculty of Philosophy University of J. J. Strossmayer in Osijek. https://bib.irb.hr/datoteka/592441.KVALITETA_IVOTA_I_ZDRAVLJE.pdf

Wylleman, P., Lavallee, D., & Alfermann, D. (1999). Transitions in the career of competitive athletes. Lund, Sweden: FEPSAC.

Wylleman, P., Lavallee, D. (2003). A developmental perspective on transitions faced by athletes. In M. Weiss (Ed.), Developmental sport psychology. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.

Wylleman, P., Alfermann, D., & Lavallee, D. (2004), Career transitions in sport: European perspectives. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 57–20, 126. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1469-0292(02)00049-