G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Adolescent student-athletes’ dual career adaptability : the role individual and environmental factors (2022)

Nikander, A. (2022). Adolescent student-athletes’ dual career adaptability : the role individual and environmental factors [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Jyväskylä. JYU Dissertations, 541. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-9341-2

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsNikander, Aku


Journal or seriesJYU Dissertations


Publication year2022

Number in series541

Number of pages in the book1 verkkoaineisto (60 sivua, 47 sivua useina numerointijaksoina, 3 numeroimatonta sivua)

PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä

Place of PublicationJyväskylä

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageEnglish

Persistent website addresshttp://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-9341-2

Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel


Career development has been observed to continue over the lifespan, but the formation of career-related choices is especially important during adolescence. Some youth athletes may prioritize athletic career development over education and postpone their vocational career construction, while others are better prepared for their future. Career adaptability, which denotes an individual’s psychosocial resources, may help to achieve vocational developmental tasks and overcome challenges related to career development, leading to enhanced well-being and career success. The aim of the present research was to examine adolescent athletes’ dual career construction in terms of dual career adaptability across the high school years. Furthermore, the individual- and environment-related predictors of dual career adaptability were examined. The present research was part of the Longitudinal Finnish Dual Career study, which followed student-athletes (N = 391–331, depending on the measurement point) from six sports high schools across their high school years. Study 1 examined the development of dual career adaptability and self-esteem among adolescent student-athletes. The data were collected at four measurement points throughout high school. In Study 2, individual and parental success expectations in school and sport, in addition to gender, were investigated as predictors of dual career adaptability profiles. The data were collected at the beginning and at the end of the first year of high school from the student-athletes and from 260 mothers and 188 fathers of the participants. Finally, in Study 3, organizational culture and its potential impact on student-athletes’ dual career development was examined. The data were collected using on-site observations (58 hours) and semi-structured interviews (N = 14) from student-athletes, coaches, teachers, and leaders in one of the six sports high schools. To analyse the data, both person- and variable-oriented approaches were used, in addition to a case study approach in Study 3. The results showed, first, that dual career adaptability was relatively stable during the transition phase to as well as during sports high school. Second, student-athletes’ dual career adaptability and self-esteem were positively associated with each other. Third, males demonstrated higher levels of dual career adaptability and self-esteem compared to females. Fourth, student-athletes’ high success expectations in sport and school, and mothers’ high success expectations in school, increased the probability of student-athletes demonstrating higher adaptability profiles. Finally, the organizational culture of the environment impacted youths’ career-related thoughts and decisions in a way that they prioritized athletic development over education. Based on the findings, it can be suggested that support for career-related activities should be individually targeted early during a dual career. Furthermore, gender differences should be considered and females may benefit from self-care and empowerment rather than career-related activities per se. These findings could be used, for example, to develop career resources and holistic development support services for youth athletes.

Keywordsyoung peopleathletessports-oriented general upper secondary schoolsschool attendancesportsadaptation (change)motivational climateprofessional sports careercareer planningcareer developmentself-efficacyself-esteemlife management

Free keywordsdual career; youth athletes; career construction; career adaptability

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 23:06