Date of Conferral







Patti L. Barrows


People in midlife, age 35-50, often reach a state of generativity wherein they feel a need to enhance the well-being of younger generations. Although midlifers enjoy the potential for their highest lifetime levels of subjective well-being (SWB) and contributions to the social good, they also often experience decreased SWB and life satisfaction (LS). The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to develop an understanding of the lived experiences of SWB and LS among a purposively selected group of 10 midlife former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III collaborative sport student-athletes. Although participants in NCAA Division I athletics have been found to have enhanced quality of life in young adulthood and in midlife, the midlife group of former Division III athletes have rarely been studied. A number of findings and understandings emerged from a thematic analysis of open-ended semistructured interviews conducted with participants. These centered on family-derived SWB being at the root of midlife quality of life; LS and work not being indispensable to SWB; generativity as an essential ingredient of SWB; and the self-determination, coping, and resiliency the participants described in their intercollegiate experiences having transferred positively to midlife. Participants reported their belief that generativity and, thus, SWB increased well-being for society in general. Findings support continued research with an expanded population of midlife former Division III athletes to understand how they transfer and use what they learned in college athletics to enhance quality of life for both themselves and society.