Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

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The purpose of this explanatory study was to examine levels of spirituality self-reported by collegiate student-athletes participating in individual and team sports. Student-athletes’ levels of spirituality were measured using Astin’s (2004) College Students’ Beliefs and Values Survey (CSBV). Conceptually, this study was grounded in the works of Fowler (1981) and Parks (2000), leading researchers in measuring spiritual development. The sample of student-athletes was taken from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a large, doctoral granting, high research activity, NCAA Division I institution. The data for this study was collected at the end of the spring semester on April 27, 2009 at a presentation on the balance between “student” and “athlete” with a particular focus on life after athletics in terms of career choices. The CSBV survey was administered prior to the speaker’s presentation. Of the 338 student-athletes who attended the presentation and were given a survey, 226 completed the CSBV survey and 200 were included in the study. Student affairs researchers have recently begun to focus on the roles of religion and faith as legitimate areas for analysis (Love & Talbot, 1999; Love, 2001; Chickering et al., 2006). With calls from UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute and Chickering et al. (2006) to research trends in contemporary college students’ spiritual development processes, the time was ripe to examine the self-reported levels of spirituality of student-athletes. While results of this study were not statistically significant in regard to finding differences between groups of student-athletes participating in team and individual sports, findings indicating student-athletes are developing spiritually in college were significant. Student-athletes in the current study reported higher mean scores in half of the subscales measured by the CSBV survey as compared to Astin’s (2007) original sample population of college students nationwide. This particular finding is critical to this study, in that it solidifies the fact that student-athletes are developing spiritually and reporting higher mean scores than the average student body. Implications resulting from this finding include a need for higher education administrators to provide opportunities for spiritual development to collegiate student-athletes and to monitor this developmental process throughout student-athletes’ collegiate careers.



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