Existential learning and adolescent identity: Finding meaning through boundary situations

Ronkainen, Noora and Ryba, Tatiana V. and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn (2019) Existential learning and adolescent identity: Finding meaning through boundary situations. In: IMEC International Meaning Conference, Birkbeck College, July 12-14, London.

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Existential learning and adolescent identity: Finding meaning through boundary situations
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Abstract

Existential psychology places emphasis on boundary situations as a potential source of learning and development. These experiences are situations when one’s identity does not fit the new demands and experiences, bringing forth existential insecurity and often leading to a more profound change in one’s mode of being. Our study aimed to understand identity learning through boundary experiences in adolescence through the story of “Pilvi”, a pre-elite Finnish alpine skier who terminated her promising athletic career at the age of 18. She was interviewed using a low-structured approach, twice before and twice after her athletic retirement. We analysed her story using existential-narrative approach (Richert, 2010) with a focus on boundary situations and loss of athletic identity. A pivotal moment for Pilvi was the introduction of new skis that she could not adjust to, shattering her athletic identity that gained meaning from athletic success. The disruption also revealed the loneliness of her sport life-project underpinned by a lack of shared meaning with her father, teammates and coach. After abandoning her sport life-project and experiencing a personal crisis, she reflected on learning about her emotions, accepting her limitations and “wasting time” in sport; however, she also sought to transfer her sport life themes of success and winning to education to bring continuity to her identity. The tension with her father shaped her storytelling throughout the interviews. We discuss the implications of our findings for psychological and career counselling services for talented adolescents.

Additional Information:HART
Keywords:Existential psychology, Identity, Student athletes, Learning, Athletic identity, Athletes, Sport
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C880 Social Psychology
L Social studies > L300 Sociology
C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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ID Code:36452
Deposited On:16 Jul 2019 09:54

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