The Relationship between Athletic Identity and Stress Levels in Student-Athletes Attending a Division III Institution

Samantha S. Womeldorf, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University

A Senior Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Psychology.


Division III student-athletes are a somewhat neglected population in research. Athletic identity was looked at in this population and related to academic stress as well as everyday life events that may cause stress. Participants came from a small, Midwestern, liberal arts institution. The study was conducted using an anonymous survey involving demographic questions as well as four different measurement scales (the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale, the Academic and Athletic Identity Measurement Scale, the Academic Expectations Stress Inventory, and the Inventory of College Students’ Recent Life Experiences) sent through campus-wide e-mail. Several significant results were found and three of the five main hypotheses were supported. Overall, non-athletes reported more stress related to academics and everyday life stress. Athletic identity was higher for males and academic identity was higher for females. Females also had higher average GPAs. The study was successful in finding many differences between athletes and non-athletes, although future research should be conducted using Division III populations since there are not many studies including this level of student-athletes.