Becoming an athlete father: a media analysis of first time father tennis star Andy Murray and the implications for identity and performance
McGannon, KR and McMahon, JA and Price, J, Becoming an athlete father: a media analysis of first time father tennis star Andy Murray and the implications for identity and performance, International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology pp. 1-33. ISSN 1612-197X (2017) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2017 International Society of Sport Psychology
Within sport psychology, little research on fathers and sport has been done, with no research yet exploring athlete father identities in relation to sport performance. Research outside of sport psychology has shown that within the context of cultural meanings of fatherhood, men navigate complex issues surrounding parental responsibilities and work-family balance which impact well-being. The present study sought to extend understanding of athlete father identities in a cultural context by examining how news media constructed one high profile athlete’s (i.e., tennis star Andy Murray) journey into new fatherhood in relation to identity and athletics. Ethnographic content analysis (Altheide, 1996) was used to explore Andy Murray’s athlete and father identities as socio-cultural creations shaped by media narratives. Sixty stories from United Kingdom (UK) news media were collected between December 1, 2015 (two months prior to the birth of Murray’s daughter) and December 31, 2016 (the end of the 2016 tennis season), to explore Murray’s journey as a new father in relation to athletic career. Eighty seven images contextualized the meanings of news narratives (Altheide & Schneider, 2013). A central narrative of involved fatherhood constructed two identities: the good father and the new and improved athlete father. These identities fed into multiple meanings of involved fatherhood and athletics. The meanings both affirmed and resisted gendered ideals in parenting and sport which had implications for performance pressures. These findings extend cultural sport psychology research on the social construction of identity and elite athlete mother identities into research on elite athlete fathers.
cultural sport psychology, fatherhood, qualitative