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The role of ultrarunning in drug and alcohol addiction recovery: an autobiographic study of athlete journeys

McGannon, KR, L Estrange, M and McMahon, JA ORCID: 0000-0002-1079-8939 2019 , 'The role of ultrarunning in drug and alcohol addiction recovery: an autobiographic study of athlete journeys' , Psychology of Sport and Exercise, vol. 46 , doi: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.101585.

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Purpose: There is contentious understanding of the role of sport in adult recreational drug and alcohol addiction recovery. This study explored athlete autobiographies as cultural sites of analysis in relation to the role that one sport (i.e., ultrarunning) plays in addiction recovery capital pathways.Design: Working at the intersection of an autobiographical approach grounded in relativist narrative inquiry, asocial constructionist narrative thematic analysis was conducted of two autobiographies–Catra Corbett and Carlie Engle—about addiction recovery through ultrarunning (i.e., distances of 43 km or more). The narratives used to construct life transformation and recovery capital in relation to ultrarunning were centralized in the analysis using Frank’s (2013) work on illness narratives and the body.Results: Two narrative themes threaded athletes’addiction recovery journeys: chaos narrative and quest narrative. Two sub-themes related to fluid identity transformation intertwined with ultrarunning were identified within these narratives: 1.‘addict-runner’(chaos) and 2.‘addict runner to ultra-runner’(quest). Nuancedmeanings of suffering were connected to identity transformation and running and two forms of addiction recovery capital: human (e.g., psychological adjustment, life perspective) and social (e.g., family connection, community).Conclusions: The research findings provide insight into the role of sport in psychosocial aspects of addiction recovery using an autobiographical approach grounded in narrative theory. This study also extends work in sport psychology focusing on autobiographies as research and pedagogical resources to learn more about athlete mental health.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:McGannon, KR and L Estrange, M and McMahon, JA
Keywords: narrative analysis, athlete stories, addiction recovery, capital, distance running
Journal or Publication Title: Psychology of Sport and Exercise
Publisher: Elsevier Sci Ltd
ISSN: 1469-0292
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.101585
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Elsevier Ltd.

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