Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Justin D. McDonald


To date, empirical studies have investigated the transition or retirement phase, following the conclusion of a student-athletes’ four-year career as a comparison between student-athletes and non-athletes. Specifically, when investigating these constructs, researchers have failed to thoroughly investigate the role cultural identity may play in mitigating psychological symptoms during the transition phase. As such, this study will seek to investigate both Indigenous and non-Indigenous retired college student- athletes, during the transition phase, in terms of the degree to which they identified with their athletic identity, cultural identity and career transition. It is expected those retired Indigenous and non-Indigenous student- athletes who identified significantly with their athletic identity during the transition phase, will experience greater mental health symptoms. Further, it is expected retired Indigenous student- athletes, whom possessed strong cultural associations, will have experienced less mental health symptoms, during the transition phase. Lastly, the psychological symptoms and coping strategies experienced by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous retired student-athletes will be examined. It is expected retired student-athletes who possessed a strong athletic identity combined with an insignificant cultural association, will experience greater psychological symptoms, and demonstrate maladaptive coping strategies. Understanding the association between these variables may be beneficial for future Indigenous and non-Indigenous student-athletes during the transition phase, with the intent of minimizing mental health symptoms and subsequently learning effective coping skills and strategies.