Ten essential features of European dual career development environments: A multiple case study

Louise Kamuk Storm, Kristoffer Henriksen, Natalia Stambulova, Emily Cartigny, Tatiana Ryba, Koen De Brandt, Yago Ramis, Sasa Cecic Erpic

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Aim: Dual career development environments (DCDEs) support athletes' effort in combining their competitive sporting careers with education or work. The characteristics of the environments may differ across cultures. The aim was to identify essential features of DCDEs based on a cross-case analysis of seven European DCDEs in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom within the Erasmus+ Sport project “Ecology of Dual Career”. Design: The study was designed as a multiple case study and based on two holistic ecological working models (Henriksen et al., 2020). The cross-case analysis included series of focus group discussions, in which two-three researchers from each partner country and four dual career (DC) support providers compared the findings across seven national cases with a primary focus on similarities rather than differences. Results: A list of ten essential features of the DCDEs, structured into two overarching themes. (1) Holistic structure with five subthemes: Dedicated DC support team, Integration of efforts across the whole environment, A clear understanding of DC issues and support from across the environment, Role models and mentorship, and Access to expert support. (2) Shared DC philosophy also had five subthemes: A whole-person approach, An empowerment approach, Flexible DC solutions, Care of DC athlete's mental health and wellbeing, and An open and proactive approach to the development of the environment. Conclusion: The features are introduced in the manner of discussions, thus providing detailed information about the DCDEs without losing (too much) contextual information. These features can help researcher-practitioners to understand DCDEs and guide their optimization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101918
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Case study
  • Cross-national
  • Erasmus+
  • Holistic ecological approach
  • Sport and education


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