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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only




"The purpose of this study was to examine collegiate student-athletes' self-disclosure strategies and practices on social networking sites (SNS), as well as the underlying factors for these strategies and practices. Moreover, this study intended to discover if collegiate student-athletes post sensitive content on SNS and, if they do, to determine the underlying factors for these posts. To address these aims, this study replicated the survey from Emily Boissonneault's "Student-Athletes' Attitudes and Beliefs Towards Social Media" and extended her study to include a focus group. Two hundred and seventy-seven (277) student-athletes at a regional comprehensive university were contacted to complete a survey which asked questions about their strategies and practices on SNS, as well as their awareness of posting sensitive content on those sites. The researcher then conducted a focus group with one of the university's athletic teams to further explore student-athletes' strategies and practices on SNS. Due to the low survey response rate (3.97%), the researcher minimized the role of the survey responses and instead used them as a complement to the focus group responses to address the research questions. Responses in both the focus group and on the survey indicate that student-athletes use few specific strategies and practices on SNS and instead refer to broader models when posting, including their role as representatives of the university, team culture, and the team's and athletic department's policies and expectations. The findings also suggest student-athletes recognize the internal and external audiences viewing their posts, and they utilize SNS privacy settings to manage these audiences and limit the visibility of their posts. Finally, the findings indicate student-athletes are aware of posting sensitive content on SNS, well-educated enough to not post sensitive content, and understand the consequences for doing so, while also believing that gender roles and expectations play a role in the differences in those consequences faced by male and female athletes. Based on the research conducted, conclusions are drawn for the relevant literature and university policies"--Leaf iv.