"My Sport Was Something I Did. It's Not Who I Am:" A Multi-Method Investigation of The Educational Experiences of Black Women Student Athletes

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0003-3489-0315
Seward, Miray, Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Williams, Joanna, Education Leadership, Foundations and Policy, University of Virginia

This manuscript style dissertation, “My Sport Was Something I Did. It's Not Who I Am:” A Multi-Method Investigation Of The Educational Experiences Of Black Women Student Athletes, takes a multi-method approach to explore the experiences of Division I Black women student athletes. Grounded in the Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST), this dissertation explored the educational experiences of Black women student athletes by addressing three key research questions: (1) How does previous research on Black women student athletes broaden our understanding of their risk and protective factors, supports and challenges, coping methods, identities, and life-stage outcomes?, (2) How are Black women student athletes’ academic and athletic identities related to their academic and athletic satisfaction in college?, and (3) How are Division I Black women student athletes’ identities shaped by the people with whom they interact and the experiences they have during childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood? Paper 1, The Educational Experiences of Black Women and Girl Student Athletes: An Integrative Review, provides an overview and synthesis of the existing research on the educational experiences of Black women student athletes and offers PVEST as a relevant developmental theory for sports scholars to adopt for thinking about development in context. Paper 2, Predictors of Division I Black Women Student Athletes Academic and Athletic Satisfaction, takes a deeper dive into the emergent identities (athletic and academic identity) and life stage specific outcomes (athletic and academic satisfaction) components of PVEST to understand how the collective and individual identity experiences of Black women student athletes influence their satisfaction in education and sport. Lastly, Paper 3, A Narrative Inquiry of Black Women Student Athletes’ Experiences in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood, utilizes interview data from 11 Black women student athletes to examine how they draw upon their support networks, coping methods, and emergent identities in the face of challenging situations. Overall, this dissertation provides a comprehensive understanding of how Black women student athletes’ developmental trajectories are shaped by individuals, environments, and structures. This work will better equip researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to serve the unique needs of and make sustainable positive change for Black women and girl student athletes.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Black Women Student Athletes, Student Athletes, Black Women, Identity Development, Qualitative Methods, Narrative Inquiry
Sponsoring Agency:
NCAA Graduate Student Research GrantInstitute of Education SciencesSouthern Regional Education Board
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