Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-15-2023


Physical Education (PE) is often considered a marginalized profession where Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) programs face sustainability challenges, and educators experience negative outcomes such as isolation, frustration, and emotional exhaustion. Previous research highlighted that increased perceptions of mattering can help navigate these negative feelings. The purpose of this three-study dissertation format was to explore the perceptions of mattering among PETE faculty members, PETE doctoral students, and PE teachers within different career stages. Findings from these studies indicate that PETE faculty members derive feelings of mattering from external professional networks. PETE doctoral students’ importance grows over time as they progress in their doctoral studies. PE teachers who can overcome initial challenges associated with early career years feel valued as they leverage social capital. Implications and future research are provided for the development of interventions that support those working in a marginalized space.


physical education, perceived mattering, teacher career cycle, doctoral students, faculty members

Document Type




Degree Name

Physical Education, Sports and Exercise Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Karen Gaudreault

Second Committee Member

Dr. Kevin Andrew Richards

Third Committee Member

Dr. Victoria Shiver

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Kelly Simonton

Available for download on Thursday, May 15, 2025