The body matters: Psychophysical impact of retiring from elite sport

Yannick Stephan, Miquel Torregrosa, Xavier Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The purpose of the present study was to assess the relation between the perception of bodily changes after retirement from elite sport and physical self and global self-esteem, in retired elite athletes. Methods: Sixty-nine French retired elite athletes answered the 6-item Physical Self Inventory, and questions related to bodily difficulties experienced after retirement, and reasons, moment and nature of retirement. Results: Correlation analysis revealed that the difficulties experienced with the body were negatively related to global self-esteem, physical self-worth, perceived physical condition, sports competence, and bodily attractiveness. Regression analysis revealed the mediating role of physical self-worth between the difficulties experienced with the body and global self-esteem. Conclusion: As well as social and professional changes, bodily changes might also be a source of potential distressful reactions. These findings complete existing knowledge, having a particular emphasis on the potential difficulties resulting from the bodily dimension among former elite athletes. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • Bodily changes
  • Career transition
  • Global self-esteem
  • Physical self

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