Students and Athletes? Development of the Academic and Athletic Identity Scale (AAIS)

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Student-athletes face the challenges of balancing the demands of the classroom and the sports field to be successful as students and athletes. As a result, student-athletes may view themselves primarily as students or as athletes (or both). The purpose of this study was to create a short measure of the identification of students participating in sports that captures the extent to which being academically and athletically engaged is central to one's sense of self. Two studies were conducted to develop the measure and provide initial reliability and validity of the Academic and Athletic Identity Scale (AAIS). Following the literature review, an initial pool of items was developed and submitted to a panel of experts for content validation. Next, the scale was pilot tested with a sample of 271 undergraduate students participating in sports. A confirmatory factor analysis suggested several modifications resulting in a refined scale with reasonable factor structure and internal consistency. In Study 2, the scale was administered to an independent sample of 596 undergraduate student-athletes (307 males, 289 females) participating in varsity (n = 365) and club sports (n = 231). Results confirmed a 2-factor structure and reliability, as well as provided evidence of factorial validity by establishing invariance across sport participation level (varsity and club sport student-athletes) and gender. The 11-item AAIS is suggested as a reasonable measure of identity of students participating in sports that can be used in future investigations. However, future research is needed to further examine the validity of the AAIS.

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