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This qualitative, longitudinal investigation had three purposes: (1) to investigate social emotional learning (SEL) outcomes athletes reported from participating in high school basketball; (2) to identify critical incidents that occurred over the course of a season that were associated with SEL outcomes; and, (3) to explore the processes identified as leading to the athletes’ SEL outcomes. High school varsity basketball players (four males, five females) were interviewed five times over the course of their season. Content analysis revealed that major categories of SEL outcomes identified included: psychological dispositions (e.g., accountability, discipline); psychological skills (e.g., emotional regulation, time management); and interpersonal competencies (e.g., communication, friendship). Student-athletes reported several critical incidences (competitive outcomes, shifting team responsibilities, team conflict, and emotional regulation events) and these were directly related to SEL outcomes. Student-athletes reported learning SEL outcomes from both the totality of their sport experience and from specific critical incidents such as winning and losing big games or handling team conflict. Results are discussed in light of the social emotional learning literature in education and Larson and Brown’s propositions regarding how youth learn via extracurricular activity participation.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Applied Sport Psychology on 2022, available online:

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