Exploring Socio-economic and Psychological Resilience: a Case of Kenyan Distance Runners During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Mutuma, Nelly N
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Resilience as a broad concept has attracted different academic orientations over the years and subsequently, been applied in diverse fields. The concept of developing resilience capacities has also gained prominence among sport scholars in recent times. This is a crucial component in the sporting industry especially during crises. The unparalleled global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the income, training routines and well-being of athletes due to the preventive measures put in place to moderate the spread of the potentially evolving virus. This study therefore sought to explore ways of developing socio-economic and psychological resilience to future pandemics among distance runners in Eldoret and Iten by drawing lessons from their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. It examined the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, assessed the interventions, and established effective strategies for developing resilience among distance runners in Eldoret and in Iten. The research relied on the socio-ecological model, psychological resilience theory and self-determination theory all which best explains resilience from a multidimensional perspective. A mixed method research design was adopted for this study. Secondary data was obtained through a thorough desk review while primary data was collected using key informant interviews, questionnaires, case narratives and focus group discussions. The key findings suggested the following: distance runners in Eldoret and Iten struggled with loss of livelihood sources as well as loss of athletic identity, missed athletic scholarship opportunities, reported depression, anxiety, stress and fear during the COVID-19 pandemic period. This research concluded that developing socio-economic and psychological resilience required preparedness among distance runners in Eldoret and in Iten as well as concerted efforts by the government, Athletics Kenya, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya and the general community. Stakeholders in the sporting industry need to ensure that resilient systems are put in place in order to overcome the effects of future pandemics. It is expected that the results of this research can be applied in other sports disciplines since it will be instrumental in determining multiple ways of developing resilience. Future research is necessary to look at the unique experiences of para-athletes and paralympians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
University of Nairobi
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