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Durham e-Theses
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Athlemaphilia: (n) meaningful affective connections with sport

HODGE, ALEXANDER,CARL (2018) Athlemaphilia: (n) meaningful affective connections with sport. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis amalgamates self-determination and attachment theories with the three-factor theory of anthropomorphism to propose athletes can form meaningful nonhuman attachments to sport, which are experienced similarly to interpersonal attachments, and can predict wellbeing and motivation to engage in sport. This mixed methods thesis employed three studies to develop our understanding of ‘athlemaphilic’ relationships. The first study explored whether athletes experience athlematic interactions like interpersonal relationships, as well as how interactions with sport are associated with wellbeing. The second study utilised interpretative phenomenological analysis to examine why individuals might turn to sport for support. The final study tested how individuals primed with interpersonal insecurity might recuperate a sense of belongingness by thinking about their athlemaphilic relationships. This thesis offers preliminary support for the notions that athlemaphilic relationships: (a) exist; (b) impact wellbeing and motivation; (c) satisfy the secure base and safe haven functions of attachment figures; (d) are anthropomorphised, and; (e) can compensate for thwarted interpersonal need satisfaction. Throughout this thesis athlemaphilic attachments are compared to attachments to interpersonal others, deities, and objects (i.e., mobile-phones), although it remains unclear which type of attachment they resemble most, or if such direct comparison is even possible. Each relationship may make a unique contribution to wellbeing, and a model which can detect such variation is needed. Overall, this thesis challenges the interpersonal requirement of relatedness according to self-determination theory, broadens the scope of attachment theory, supports context-specific attachment styles, and demonstrates attachment to sport as a concept. Continuing to explore these relationships is necessary to better understand what motivates us to engage, or disengage, in sport, as well as how we generate a sense of health and wellbeing.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Anthropomorphism; Athlemaphilia; Attachment; Self-determination; Sport; Wellbeing
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:25 Feb 2019 16:10

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