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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

5-7-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management

Advisor(s)

Joshua Pate

Abstract

Stress and anxiety are present and acknowledged on our society as seven out of 10 United States adults deal with moderate stress or anxiety on a daily basis (Beiter et al., 2015). Sport research has primarily focused on student-athletes, how they struggle, and the resources that can be provided to help this population cope and manage their stress. However, there is lack of research about stress and anxiety among those individuals who provide the care to student-athletes, specifically the athletic training students within their clinical assignments. Athletic training students lead similar schedules to student-athletes by devoting time to prepare for practices, be present during practices, conduct post-practice reports of their work, care for student-athletes who are injured, and attend class. The purpose of this study was to investigate what stressors athletic training students face, how they cope with these stressors, and what resources athletic training students sought out for support in coping with their mental health. As students are fully engaged in their time-demanding clinical, they are required to complete a set number of clinical hours as a part of their academic grade. Therefore, it is imperative to investigate not only what causes stress among those caregivers, but also how they cope with stress and anxiety within both their academic and athletic training environments. This qualitative study used interviews to assess the attitudes athletic training students have toward their stress and mental health when related to class and clinical. The researcher also conducted three months of a self-reflexivity journaling to examine how a graduate student’s experience compared to the demands of undergraduate athletic training students. Using semi-structured interviews, data were collected from 12 athletic training students at mid-semester who were enrolled in three different academic programs. Data were coded by the researcher using the constant comparative method. Four themes were constructed from the data: Student Identity, Time Management, Relationships, and Social Support. The fourth theme, Social Support, was the least developed theme as students struggled to find a formal and structured support system for coping with stress and anxiety. Findings from the current study show that a more formal, structured support system should be implemented by both academic departments and athletic training programs in order to better prepare them to manage their own stress while providing care for student-athletes. There should be a shift to holistic care for care providers, including the athletic training student.

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