Trust is a vital component of the patient-clinician relationship yet little is known about trust in the athletic training (AT) profession. Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative study was to define and understand trust in an athletic training setting. Methods: Interviews with Division I student-athlete patients (n=9) and athletic trainers (n=3) were conducted to collect data about participant views and definitions of trust. Data were analyzed using classical and constant comparison techniques; the trustworthiness of findings were assessed via peer debriefing, member checks, and reflexive journaling. Results: The analyses yielded 21 codes and four themes described to promote trust: (1) athletic trainers’ attributes, (2) interactions between athletic trainers and athletes, (3) the quality of this relationship and (4) the overall experience. Conclusion: A working definition of trust in the athletic training setting was developed via this work; furthermore, athletic trainers and patients agreed that trust is a complex construct but is vital to developing a productive therapeutic relationship.

Author Bio(s)

Dr. John Hitchcock’s area of interest is in evaluating interventions for children with special learning needs, as well as refining research methods for performing such evaluations. He is the director of the Center for Evaluation & Education Policy and an associate professor of instructional systems technology at Indiana University. He is a former associate editor of School Psychology Review and remains on that journal’s editorial board, and co-editor of International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches.

Dr. Shannon David’s area of interest is with the patient clinician relationship specifically trust and empathy. Additionally, she is interested in research methods to aid in evaluation of treatment outcomes. She is an athletic trainer and assistant professor at North Dakota State University.


This project was partially funded by the NATAREF Doctoral Grant (212DGP003).





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