Purpose: The work environment for an athletic trainer (AT) working in a secondary school is typified by heavy workloads and job-related stress. Occupational stress can have negative effects on productivity, absenteeism, employee turnover, and quality of life. Research suggests that personal and situational factors can influence the coping process adopted by an individual. The approach-avoidance framework suggests that people cope with a stressor by either attempting to reduce it or removing oneself from that stressor. Previous research on other healthcare professionals suggested that use of avoidance coping was correlated with higher levels of job stress and those who perceived greater social support possessed lower work-related stress. However, the relationship between coping strategies and perceived social support has not been examined in ATs. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among coping strategies, perceived social support, and workload in secondary school ATs. Method: This was a cross-sectional study completed via an online survey. Three hundred, ninety-two (392) secondary school athletic trainers (35.7 ± 11.1 years old) from all NATA districts responded to the survey. Outcomes included the Brief COPE, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and average hours worked. Results: The average workload reported was 44.10 ± 12.96 hours a week over the school year (i.e., fall and spring). The regression model showed that avoidant coping (B=0.34, 95% CI=0.12, 0.56, p=.005) was directly associated with the average number of hours worked (adjusted R2=.07). Approach coping (B=-0.28, 95% CI=-0.43, -0.12, p=.007) was indirectly associated with the average numbers of hours worked. However, perceived social support did not display a significant association with any variable of interest. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that a relationship between average workload and coping strategies adopted by secondary school ATs may exist. Increased workloads were related to increases in avoidance coping strategies. Further research in this area is needed to determine how coping strategies affect patient care.
Gallucci A, Lee KM, Oglesby LW, Porter A, Funderburk L, Forsse JS. Stressed Fracture: The Relationship Between Coping Strategies and Workload in Secondary School Athletic Trainers. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2023 Dec 15;22(1), Article 12.