College Athletes

Within the university setting, collegiate athletics has historically been considered an area of extreme prejudice and discrimination related to sexual orientation. The climate that nonheterosexual college student-athletes experience is typically recognized as one of the most oppressive compared with other campus settings; some research has shown it to be the most oppressive. For nonheterosexual college athletes, such an environment can lead to identity compartmentalization, in which the individual focuses on one aspect of identity—typically, being a student-athlete—and minimizes other aspects, including sexual identity. Because of the suppression of aspects of one’s identity, the ability to develop into a healthy, complete individual—as one ideally should experience during late adolescence and early adulthood—is often challenging for college student-athletes. This entry provides an overview of the college student-athlete ...

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