Masters of Education in Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies Graduate Projects


Servant leadership behaviors have shown to increase patient care in various health care professions (Garber, 2009). Currently there is no known research on servant leadership and related behaviors in athletic training. The purpose of this study was to explore the presence and prevalence of servant leadership practices by athletic trainers. A Cross-sectional study using web-based survey asked participants to rank their servant leadership practices and the servant leadership practices of athletic training colleagues. Data was collected through an online survey which was distributed through the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). 65 athletic trainers responded (6.5% response rate). The majority of the respondents were female (56.9%), Caucasian (93.8%), between the ages of 30-39 years old (30.8%), and 30.8% worked in the high school setting. The highest represented district was the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association (at 26.2%). Servant leadership behaviors were measured using the 28-item Servant Leadership Questionnaire developed by Liden et al. (2008). Items were based on a 7 point Likert scale (1=highly disagree, 7=highly agree). Servant leadership behaviors were sums of questions with the categories ranging from 1 (high range) to 4 (extremely low range). Data was analyzed using measures of central tendency, correlations, item analysis, t-tests and one-way ANOVA with Tukey Post Hoc to establish internal consistency, validity and to determine differences between demographics and servant leadership behaviors and specific questions. The survey instrument yielded an α= .95 with item analysis ranging from α= .953-.956. In general, servant leadership behaviors ranked high for both self and co-worker ratings (1.28±.451; 1.62±.678, respectively). Participants perceived their servant leadership behaviors higher than co-workers in Emotional Healing and Empowerment (1.23±.425 vs 1.68±.731; p=.05; 1.54±.502 vs 1.74±.668; p≤.001, respectively). Significant differences in servant leadership behaviors and specific questions were found between participants’ gender, age, ethnicity, state, and athletic training setting and co-workers’ ethnicity and job title. For example, Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association athletic trainers were higher in overall servant leadership than Far West Athletic Trainers’ Association athletic trainers (1.13 ± .352 vs 2.00 ± .000; p=.039). No significant differences were found between servant leadership behaviors/questions and participants’ years of experience, years at current position, or co-workers’ gender and years working with participant. There were significant positive correlations with items between the self-scale and co-worker scale that ranged from 0.27 to 0.46 (p less than or equal to sign. of .001). Further research should continue looking into the application of servant leadership in the athletic training profession.


Matthew Kutz

Second Reader

Adam Fullenkamp