Work-Addiction Risk in Athletic Trainers and Its Relationship to Work-Family Conflict and Burnout

J Athl Train. 2022 Mar 1;57(3):225-233. doi: 10.4085/JAT0348-20.


Context: Individual factors can affect numerous work-life interface outcomes, including work-family conflict and burnout. Recently, the concept of work addiction has been investigated as an individual factor that could affect numerous outcomes. Despite the large body of literature investigating work-family conflict and burnout in athletic training, little is known about the incidence of work addiction or its potential effect on these outcomes.

Objective: To gather descriptive data on the work-addiction risk and examine the effect work addiction may have on work-life interface outcomes in athletic training.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Online web-based survey.

Patients or other participants: Athletic trainers (ATs) employed in all work settings were recruited to participate via social media and email distribution lists. Data from 226 (n = 65, 28.8% males; n = 161, 71.2% females) ATs, currently employed in more than 13 work settings, were included in data analysis.

Main outcome measure(s): The online questionnaire consisted of 4 main sections: demographic questions, work-family conflict scale, Copenhagen Burnout Inventory, and the Work Addiction Risk Test. We calculated Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis tests to determine if group differences existed. Simple linear regressions were used to assess if work-addiction risk scores predicted burnout and work-family conflict.

Results: The ATs experienced moderate levels of personal (55.0 ± 19.1) and work-related (50.0 ± 16.0) burnout and were at medium risk for work addiction (58.3 ± 11.2). No demographic differences were observed in burnout or work-family conflict scores, but these scores differed based on the work-addiction risk. Women were more at risk for compulsive tendencies than were men. Work-addiction risk scores predicted both burnout and work-family conflict, but only a relatively small percentage of the variability was explained.

Conclusions: Those ATs at higher risk for work addiction reported higher levels of burnout. Because of the medium risk for work addiction among ATs, work-addiction mitigation strategies should be implemented by individuals and organizations.

Keywords: psychology; workaholism.

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Conflict
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sports* / education
  • Surveys and Questionnaires