Assessing the Awareness and Behaviors of U.S. High School Nurses With Respect to the Female Athlete Triad

J Sch Nurs. 2015 Aug;31(4):272-9. doi: 10.1177/1059840514563760. Epub 2014 Dec 21.


Female high school athletes are an at-risk population for the Female Athlete Triad-a syndrome including low energy availability (with or without disordered eating), menstrual dysfunction, and low bone mineral density. School nurses can play an important role in reducing the health burden of this syndrome, by educating coaches and athletes, and by referring symptomatic student-athletes to appropriate community resources for evaluation and treatment. This study assessed knowledge, attitudes, communication, and referral behaviors of U.S. high school nurses about the Female Athlete Triad. Participants were a random sample of 370 U.S. high school nurses. The results indicated that only 19% of the nurses were able to identify the three components of the Triad and only 25% reported that they work proactively with coaches to help prevent health issues among their female athletes. Over 95% expressed interest in learning more about the Triad. Implications for educational program design are discussed.

Keywords: athlete health; eating disorders; high school; school nurse knowledge.

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Female Athlete Triad Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Female Athlete Triad Syndrome / therapy*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Professional Competence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Risk Factors
  • School Nursing / methods*
  • United States