A qualitative exploration of adversarial growth in elite swimmers

2016-01-27T14:50:18Z (GMT) by Karen L. Howells
The past few decades have heralded a paradigm shift in the psychology, oncology, and trauma literature. This shift has involved a re–focusing of the empirical lens from the distress and pathology of traumatic experiences to a focus on growth and thriving in response to adversity or traumatic events. Multiple studies have identified that individuals recognise positive changes following their experiences of adversity to the extent that many individuals report development beyond their pre–trauma functioning. These positive changes have been broadly conceptualised as growth, a multidimensional concept, which typically involves an increased appreciation for life, more meaningful relationships, an increased sense of personal strength, a change in priorities, and a richer existential and spiritual awareness. Growth following adversity, or adversarial growth, is still relatively new in sport, and specifically elite sport, and accordingly the purpose of this doctoral research was to explore adversarial growth in elite athletes with a particular emphasis on the experiences of elite level swimmers. The research was grounded in a constructivist paradigm which assumes changing and sometimes conflicting social realities, and seeks to understand people’s constructions of their lived experiences. [Continues.]