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Returning home after playing abroad: re-adaptation challenges of elite Swedish handball players
Halmstad University, School of Health and Welfare, Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI), Health and Sport.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9703-719X
Halmstad University, School of Health and Welfare, Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI), Health and Sport.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6198-0784
2017 (English)In: Sport psychology: Linking theory to practice: Proceedings of the 14th ISSP World Congress of Sport Psychology / [ed] G. Si, J. Cruz and J.C. Jaenes, 2017, 531-531 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In cultural sport psychology and athlete migration literature (Ryba, Schinke, Stambulova, & Elbe, 2017) there is a call for studying athletes’ transnational mobility and cultural transitions out of, and back to the country of origin. This call is also echoed in the cultural praxis of athletes’ careers paradigm (Stambulova & Ryba, 2013) attracting attention of career researchers. This study is aimed at exploring “back home” re- adaptation challenges of elite Swedish handball players after several years of playing professionally abroad. Eleven players (six females) were interviewed about their careers from the beginning to the end, and their narratives about the transition back to Sweden were extracted from the larger data set and thematically analysed (Braun & Clarke, 2013). Participants spent abroad for M=7.2±2.8 years, and many of them came back having families and kids. Several informants narrated that the transition was more challenging than they expected, and they (especially at the beginning) felt themselves as strangers in their own land. Five major themes describing the transition challenges were: “to rethink self-identity”, “to renew family life”, “to re- establish links with relatives and family”, “to understand local laws and regulations”, “to keep in pace with the society”. The identity issue was addressed through a sense of being “in between” the identities of the home and the foreign cultures that elevated emotional discomfort, especially at the early phase of re-adjustment. Three themes describing coping strategies used in the re-adaptation were: “don’t give up” (i.e., attempt to change own attitude and the situation to the better), “use social skills” (e.g., be alert and communicate) and “search for social support” (e.g., from a spouse and close family). Based on the findings, recommendations will be provided for pre-retirement planning of elite athletes and psychological support in their cultural transition and re-adaptation back home.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. 531-531 p.
Keyword [en]
career experiences, cultural transition, handball, identity, re-adaptation, transnational mobility
National Category
Applied Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-34653ISBN: 978-84-9148-282-6 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-34653DiVA: diva2:1128186
Conference
The 14th ISSP World Congress of Sport Psychology, Sevilla, Spain, July 10-14th, 2017
Funder
Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports, FO2016-0026
Available from: 2017-07-23 Created: 2017-07-23 Last updated: 2017-08-30Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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