Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Arthur P. Bochner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carolyn Ellis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Frederick Steier, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Benford, Ph.D.


Ethnography, Family, Identity, Interpersonal, Narrative, Sports


When women marry NFL players and subsequently become NFL wives, they are thrust out of the lives they have known and into a form of secondary socialization among other NFL wives. In this dissertation, I use ethnography and narrative inquiry, the first- person narratives of four NFL wives, interactive interviews with dozens of NFL wives, friendship as method, and my personal autoethnographic experiences to describe the social interactions between NFL wives, the themes of their marriages, and the trajectories of their identity formation and transformation of NFL wives during their time in the league.

I also use autoethnography and writing as a method of inquiry to explore my own story before I was an NFL wife, while I was an NFL wife and after I was no longer an NFL wife, to uncover the processes of change in my own identity and marriage as I navigated both graduate school and the NFL.