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‘I hurt myself because it sometimes helps’: former athletes’ embodied emotion responses to abuse using self-injury

McMahon, JA ORCID: 0000-0002-1079-8939 and McGannon, KR 2019 , '‘I hurt myself because it sometimes helps’: former athletes’ embodied emotion responses to abuse using self-injury' , Sport, Education and Society , pp. 1-15 , doi: 10.1080/13573322.2019.1702940.

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Abstract

In this paper, narrative analysis using a story analyst approach is used toexplore how three former athletes (i.e. amateur and elite swimmers) selfmanaged their abuse experiences post-sport with a focus on the use,and meaning, of ‘indirect self-injury’ forms. Using the concept of‘emotion work’, the swimmers’ stories show how they reconfigured theemotions associated with the legacy of abuse by using indirect selfinjury (e.g. eating disorder; abuse of prescription medications; excessivealcohol use; promiscuity) as embodied resources, after they were left tofend for themselves post-sport. As acquired resources within their selfstories, indirect forms of self-injury assisted them to reconfigure thetrauma of abuse into something that was more manageable (i.e.‘emotion work’). While ‘emotion work’ was storied as successful for thethree swimmers in the short term, the potential long-term healthconsequences of self-injury (i.e. kidney disease; liver damage; unwantedpregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, death) were imminent. Thesefindings highlight the need for sporting stakeholders to extend theirduty of care to athletes, particularly abused athletes, post-sport.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:McMahon, JA and McGannon, KR
Keywords: self-harm, self-management strategies, emotion work, narrative analysis, athletes, sport, embodiment, abuse
Journal or Publication Title: Sport, Education and Society
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 1470-1243
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/13573322.2019.1702940
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

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