Athlete Identity: Impacts on Health & Happiness

26 Feb 2024
5 min read
Authors – Vedika Jogani

A recent graduate from Ithaca College with a Master’s degree in Sports and Exercise Science, specializing in Mental Performance, Vedika Jogani is OMP’s Product and Content Manager.

Ever thought about what keeps athletes hooked on sports? Is it something in their personality, or does it develop as they spend time in the game?  

In a study from 2024, researchers looked into the connection between how athletes see themselves and why they stick with sports.

This exploration goes beyond just physical fitness, affecting their self-esteem, motivation, skills, appearance, success, and even how they think they perform. 

Being an athlete is more than just wearing a sports jersey; it involves a mix of different aspects of a person’s mind.

Research shows that having a strong athlete identity is linked to more exercise, being social, and better overall health.

This identity goes beyond the sports field and affects things like confidence, mental health, and how someone deals with challenges like feeling down. 

This athlete’s identity isn’t just about personal qualities; it also affects how someone thinks and behaves in different situations, both in and out of sports.

So, figuring out athlete identity is crucial to understanding all the different parts that make up an athlete’s well-being. 


Passion in sports is more than just liking something; it’s a strong force that pushes athletes to succeed.

It’s a deep love and motivation that makes people not only spend time but put their real heart into the activities they love.

This passion is a key factor in overcoming challenges and achieving success in sports. 

Studies show a connection between passion in sports and how well athletes perform.

This intense love for sport becomes a source of energy and determination, helping athletes through tough training and competitions.

The complex link between passion, identity, and different outcomes, both in feelings and actions, adds another layer to understanding who a person is. 


Being dedicated to sport means sticking with it for the long haul.

It’s about consistently believing in it, putting in effort, enjoying it, and having a positive mindset.

Dedication goes beyond just spending time and energy; it’s a mindset that includes energy, commitment, and staying true to something. 

This dedication, connected to the Social Exchange Theory, is crucial for athletes to stay in sports for a long time.

It becomes a lasting mix of thoughts and feelings, including confidence, commitment, energy, and enthusiasm.

Understanding dedication helps us see how an athlete’s commitment connects to their success. 

This study dives deep into understanding athlete identity, passion, and dedication.

It explores how dedication works as both a helper and a manager in the connection between loving sports and being an athlete.

The numbers show positive results: loving the sport has a good impact on being an athlete, and dedication makes this impact even stronger. 

But it’s not just a one-way street. Being an athlete also has a positive effect on both loving the sport and being dedicated.

The study points out the big role dedication plays, emphasizing how it affects athletes’ thoughts and long-term success in sports. 

Really liking a sport directly affects being an athlete.

Liking it too much might cause some problems, but when it’s channeled in a positive way, it leads to better performance, motivation, and managing goals.

Dedication is shown to have a direct positive effect on an athlete’s personality, showing how important it is in shaping commitment and success. 

What’s more, the study confirms that dedication acts like a middleman and manager in how loving a sport affect being an athlete.

This interplay between passion, dedication, and identity isn’t just one-way.  



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