The career maturity, autonomous behaviors, and social interactions of college athletes
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the career maturity of college athletes and make some comparisons between divisions and levels of competition. The study also examined two constructs believed to influence career maturity: social interactions and autonomous behaviors. Social interactions were described as the peer groups these students interacted with, the amount of time they spent with these people, and the kind of interactions they had. Autonomy was described as the ability to be self-directed. The study sought to determine if there was a connection between career maturity, social interactions, and autonomous behaviors. The intended contribution of this study to the literature is that it begins to address some of the existing gaps concerning college athletes. A review of the literature found very little current research about intercollegiate athletes that crossed divisional levels and even less information about club sports athletes. There was also limited scholarly work that investigated these athletes’ career maturity, autonomy, and social interactions, and no information that connected the three. The ability to access information about these topics is important for two reasons. First, participation in college sports whether in Division I, II, III, or on the club level at any of these divisions plays an integral part in the lives of many students. Second, knowing that many students participate in athletics in some form, it is important to determine if and how this participation potentially affects their development. To conduct the study, Division I, II, and III club and intercollegiate athletes completed an on-line survey that asked them questions about career-related attitudes, the people they spent their time with, and self-directed behaviors. The data were analyzed, reported, and discussed. The results of this study have implications for both student affairs and athletic administrators. The study also opened doors for future research on this population of college students.