Perspectives of endurance athletes' spouses: a paradox of serious leisure
Lamont, M, Kennelly, M & Boyle, B 2017, 'Perspectives of endurance athletes' spouses: a paradox of serious leisure', Leisure Sciences.
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Amateur endurance sports have been widely couched as serious leisure. However, to date there has been a lack of research exploring impacts of serious leisure on athletes’ spouses. Adopting a grounded theory approach, in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 spouses of endurance athletes in Australia who regularly competed in distance running, triathlon, and/or adventure racing events. Spouses adopted a support role for their athlete spanning day-to-day life and event contexts. They endured their athlete’s frequent absenteeism, which evoked a range of interrelated stressors. Stressors, however, were counteracted by an array of perceived benefits such as enriched family lives. We theorize endurance sport serious leisure careers as paradoxical cycles in which athletes and their spouses tolerate significant stressors offset by powerful benefits sustaining such careers in the longer term.