Background: Coaches play an important role in the prevention of female athlete triad, but their current knowledge level, perceptions, and practice behaviors are not known.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe the knowledge, perceptions, and behaviors college coaches have about the female athlete triad. This study's purpose was to describe the relationships between these variables, and to compare coaches having high levels of general knowledge about the triad with coaches having low levels of general knowledge with their perceptions, behaviors, and more specific knowledge about the triad.
Methods: A questionnaire was sent to 300 Division I collegiate coaches in the United States. Descriptive statistics, the Pearson product-moment correlation, and independent t-tests were used to describe the participants, relationships between variables, and compare groups of coaches with high and low levels of knowledge about the triad.
Results: Forty-three percent of the 91 college coaches responding to the survey (30% return rate) were able to correctly list the specific components of the disorder. Coaches with high levels of general knowledge about the triad had statistically significant differences in their perceptions, behaviors, and more specific knowledge of the triad than coaches with low levels of general knowledge about the triad.
Conclusion: The best intervention for the female athlete triad is prevention. Future education about the triad should focus on treatment and prevention as well as specific factors related to the syndrome, such as nutritional requirements, methods of assessing menstrual irregularities, and screening techniques.