eCite Digital Repository

The Long and Winding Road: An Autobiographic Study of an Elite Athlete Mother’s Journey to Winning Gold


McGannon, KR and Tatarnic, E and McMahon, J, The Long and Winding Road: An Autobiographic Study of an Elite Athlete Mother's Journey to Winning Gold, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology pp. 1-20. ISSN 1041-3200 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Association for Applied Sport Psychology

DOI: doi:10.1080/10413200.2018.1512535


Within sport psychology, researchers have explored elite athlete mothers’ experiences. More work is needed to understand the nuanced psychosocial aspects of their athletic journeys. Studying autobiographical narratives is useful toward understanding the psychosocial nuances of motherhood and athletics in sociocultural context. Within the present study we sought to extend this understanding through studying one elite athlete’s—British runner Jo Pavey—journey as an athlete mother within her autobiography This Mum Runs (26 chapters totaling 253 pages). Thematic narrative analysis of key chapters focusing on pregnancy and motherhood in relation to training and competition allowed for the identification of a central theme—discovery narrative–reconfiguring the performance narrative—along with two subthemes: go with the flow and best of both worlds. The subthemes are used to illustrate the navigation of tensions in relation to an athlete mother identity grounded in family relationships to facilitate training and competition goals, within a discovery narrative. Applied sport psychology recommendations are made using narrative theory in relation to key findings. Recommendations focused on athlete stories and narrative resources as concrete entry points to encourage compatible athlete mother identities and sport career engagement. This study adds to sport psychology work that has used autobiography as theoretical, analytical, and applied resources to expand understanding of marginalized and/or hard to access topics in elite sport. This is the first autobiographic study to focus on elite athlete mother identities, furthering understanding of nuanced identity negotiation and experiences over time

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Athlete mothers; Autobiographies, sport psychology; educating athlete mothers
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Applied and developmental psychology
Research Field:Sport and exercise psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Women's and maternal health
UTAS Author:McMahon, J (Dr Jennifer McMahon)
ID Code:129773
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2018-12-18
Last Modified:2019-03-25

Repository Staff Only: item control page