An assessment of burnout in graduate assistant certified athletic trainers

J Athl Train. 2012 May-Jun;47(3):320-8. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-47.3.02.


Context: Graduate assistant athletic trainers (GAATs) must balance the demands of clinical care and the academic load of graduate-level students.

Objective: To examine burnout among GAATs with clinical assistantships at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I institutions and to identify the personal and situational variables that are related to burnout.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Division I universities offering graduate assistantship programs.

Patients or other participants: Two hundred one GAATs enrolled at NCAA Division I universities with graduate assistantship positions.

Main outcome measures(s): The Athletic Training Burnout Inventory, which assesses stress and burnout among ATs through 4 constructs: emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, administrative responsibility, time commitment, and organizational support. The 6-point Likert scale is anchored by 1 (never true) and 6 (always true).

Results: The GAATs who traveled with athletic teams (4.051 ± 0.895) and those who provided classroom instruction (4.333 ± 1.16) reported higher levels of stress due to time commitment than those who did not travel (3.713 ± 1.22) or teach (3.923 ± 0.929). We also found a difference in administrative responsibility across clinical settings (F(6,194) = 3.507, P = .003). The results showed that GAATs in NCAA Division I clinical settings (44.55 ± 13.17 hours) worked more hours than those in NCAA Division III clinical settings (33.69 ± 12.07 hours) and those in high school settings (30.51 ± 9.934 hours).

Conclusions: Graduate assistant ATs are at risk for burnout because of the time necessary to complete their clinical and academic responsibilities and their additional administrative responsibilities. Graduate assistants who work in the Division I clinical setting are at greater risk for burnout than those in the secondary school setting because of the large number of hours required.

MeSH terms

  • Athletes*
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Employment
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Risk
  • Sports*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities