FEPSAC position statement: Athletes’ dual careers in the European context

Natalia Stambulova, Paul Wylleman, Miquel Torregrossa, Saša Cecić Erpič, Francesca Vitali, Koen De Brandt, Anastasiya Khomutova, Alexis Ruffault, Yago Ramis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this FEPSAC Position Statement is to summarize current knowledge about athletes’ dual careers (DCs) in the European context and propose recommendations for future DC research, practice, and policy. Inspired by the European Union’s Guidelines on Dual Careers of Athletes (European Commission, 2012), researchers, practitioners, and policy makers collaborated over the last decade to create the European DC discourse as a context-informed and negotiated body of DC knowledge. In this paper, we proceed from analyzing this body of knowledge using recent review papers and European DC psychological research projects to formulating seven postulates summarizing DC research findings on factors influencing athletes in their striving for DC excellence. These factors include (1) context, (2) pathways and transitions, (3) challenges, (4) resources and coping, (5) support and empowerment, (6) student–athletes’ mental health, and (7) DC development environments. In the final section, we acknowledge the contributions of European DC discourse in serving athletes in their pursuit of DC excellence and European DC culture. We also provide a critical discussion on DC knowledge gaps and, on behalf of FEPSAC, offer recommendations for DC research, practice, and policy in Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102572
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

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Further research on scenarios of student–athletes (Linnér et al., 2021b) led to an empirical taxonomy and an updated definition of DC scenarios. Four types of DC scenarios have been identified: (a) maintain sport and studies with several shifts in daily life; (b) maintain study when sport should be prioritized (e.g., important competitions); (c) maintain sport when education should be prioritized (e.g., finalizing degree project while continue to train/compete); and (d) maintain personal life (e.g., combining romantic relationship or relocation with sport and studies). Derived from this taxonomy, DC scenarios are defined as “pre-transition situations constituting a combination of student–athletes’ circumstances that compromises their DC balance. DC scenarios are characterized by coinciding commitments across developmental levels, and student–athletes need personal resources, support, and coping strategies to maintain their optimal DC balance” (Linnér et al., 2021b p. 53).

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© 2023 The Authors


  • Dual career excellence
  • Dual career development environments
  • European dual career culture
  • European dual career discourse
  • Holistic perspective on athletes’ development


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