University student-athletes’ contributions in the form of volunteering, community engagement, and civic engagement have been the subject of recent research; however, no studies have specifically examined the factors that facilitate or serve as barriers to contribution in this population. As such, the purpose of this study is to explore the facilitators and barriers relating to university student-athletes’ contributions. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight university student-athletes (two males, six females) between 18 and 21 years of age (M = 19.25) from two Canadian universities. The analysis led to the identification of two qualitatively distinct profiles regarding how facilitators and barriers to contributions were experienced: (a) the first-year student-athletes and (b) the sustained contributors. Although the participants in each profile identified teammates, coaches, and athletics department staff as facilitators to contribution, they differed in their interpretation of how these individuals facilitated contributions. First-year student-athletes were more reliant than sustained contributors on having facilitators create contribution opportunities. The profiles also differed in regards to how time constraints were overcome. First-year student-athletes utilized less complex, individual time-management strategies, while sustained contributors collaboratively made use of more advanced time-management strategies to optimize their time.


Contribution, Emerging Adulthood, Time-Management, Composite Narrative

Author Bio(s)

Colin J. Deal is a PhD student at the University of Alberta in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. His research interests are in the area of positive youth development including contribution, life skill development and transfer, and athlete leadership. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: deal@ualberta.ca.

Dr. Martin Camiré is an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics in Ottawa, Canada. His areas of interest lie in sport psychology and sport pedagogy. Through his research, he is interested in examining how positive youth development can be facilitated in the context of sport and how coaches learn to implement strategies to promote the development of life skills.


Colin Deal was supported by a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

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