Coping Strategies Used by Athletic Training Majors to Manage Clinical and Academic Responsibilities

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
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Context:

Athletic training majors are at risk for experiencing elevated stress, frustrations, and eventual burnout. Evidence suggests that stressors can accumulate over time, but academic standing can plausibly influence experiences with stress.

Objective:

Gain information related to coping strategies used by athletic training majors to manage their stress and frustrations to prevent burnout.

Design:

Online qualitative study.

Setting:

Athletic training programs.

Patients or Other Participants:

10 sophomores, 9 juniors, and 4 seniors completed the online questionnaire. The athletic training majors were recruited from four institutions with accredited programs.

Data Collection and Analysis:

Data were collected in March 2013 via asynchronous online interviewing via QuestionPro. All participants responded to the same set of 25 questions and data were analyzed following a general inductive approach. The questionnaire was reviewed by a peer and piloted. Multiple analyst coding was completed.

Results:

We identified an overarching theme of personal coping strategies, which athletic training majors used to manage and cope with their stressors. These strategies were simply considered outside the confines of the athletic training program itself, and included outside support networks, physical outlets, and time management skills. We acknowledged athletic training majors also employed stress-relieving strategies that were facilitated within or by the athletic training program itself. Specifically, our participants noted that they received support from peer and programmatic personnel (preceptors, faculty).

Conclusions:

Athletic training majors must develop personal strategies that can help them best alleviate their stressors, but also must have strong support in place especially within their athletic training programs. We recommend that athletic training majors reflect upon what strategies work best for them and to find hobbies and personal interests that help them de-stress and rejuvenate from their demanding workloads.