Purpose: Strategies for reducing burnout and improving work-life balance have been recommended for both organizations and individual athletic trainers. Little is known about what types of self-care (SC) strategies are already being used by athletic trainers. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the number and type of SC strategies used by athletic trainers on a weekly basis. Methods: We used a cross-sectional design with web-based survey to explore the SC strategies used by athletic trainers. The survey instrument consisted of a SC checklist which asked the participants to select all the SC strategies they engage in weekly with 17 potential options, including an opportunity to describe intensity of exercise and also an “other” option with the ability to describe additional strategies. Results: Participants were mostly female, in their mid-career (age = 33 ± 9 y; experience = 10 ± 8 y), predominantly White, working in the college/university setting, holding a professional master’s degree. Participants engage in 6.9±2.8 SC strategies per week (range=1-15; mode=6). They most often engage in positive social relationships (n=522, 72.5%), humor (n=477, 66.3%), laughter (n=476, 66.1%), hydration (n=472, 65.6%), and moderate exercise (n=418, 58.1%). Participants most often selected physical (2.6±1.1; range=1- 4; mode=3, n=681, 94.6%), interpersonal (2.6±1.0; range=1-3; mode=3, n=665, 92.4%) or contemplative and meditative (2.1±1.3; range=1-5; mode=1, n=641, 89.0%) SC strategies to use on a weekly basis. Creative strategies were used the least frequently (1.0±0.2; mode=1, n=341, 47.4%). Only 25 (3.5%) participants indicated they engaged in no SC strategies weekly. There were no statistically or clinically significant differences between groups of gender identities or early and late career athletic trainers when compared to weekly use of contemplative and meditative, physical, interpersonal or creative SC strategies. Conclusions: Physical and interpersonal SC strategies are most popular among athletic trainers. Athletic trainers should continue to engage in SC strategies, as wellbeing positively impacts connections to the workplace. Organizations should implement workplace wellness and employee assistance programs that embrace common SC strategies.

Author Bio(s)

Lindsey E. Eberman, PhD, LAT, ATC is a professor and program director of the Doctorate in Athletic Training program at Indiana State University.

Justin P. Young, DAT, LAT, ATC is a doctoral graduate assistant for the Doctorate in Athletic Training program at Indiana State University and is currently completing his PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana State University.

Matthew J. Rivera, DAT, LAT, ATC is an assistant professor and core faculty member for the Doctor in Athletic Training program at Indiana State University.

Kenneth E. Games, PhD, LAT, ATC is a professor and director of clinical education for the Doctor in Athletic Training program at Indiana State University.




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