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


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of burnout among graduate assistant athletic trainers (GAATs) working in the secondary school setting, to explore factors that may impact burnout rates, and to compare results with GAATs working in the Division I collegiate setting. Methods: Non-experimental, exploratory, and descriptive research design. The Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HS) was distributed by email to 1,000 members of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in the “certified student” category. Participants submitted responses anonymously. Results: Internal consistency of the MBI-HS was α=.99. The MBI-HS was completed by 93 female and 49 male GAATs. 53 worked clinically in the secondary school setting and 89 in the Division I collegiate setting. Participants had an average age of 25.02±1.78 years and an average of 2.02±1.26 years of experience working as a certified athletic trainer. GAATs working in the secondary school experienced moderate levels of burnout, with mean scores of 21.59 ±8.25 in emotional exhaustion (EE), 6.36 ± 4.79 in depersonalization (DP), and 36.55 ± 6.34 in personal accomplishment (PA). Division I GAATs also experienced moderate levels of burnout, with mean scores of 26.73 ± 10.91 in EE, 9.44 ± 7.03 in DP, and 37.18 ± 6.50 in PA. Scores of GAATs in the Division I setting trended higher in all three categories. Both EE, t(140) = 2.97, p<.01, and DP, t(140) = 2.82, p<.01, were statistically significantly higher in the Division I setting than the secondary school setting. There is a moderate positive correlation between the number of clinical hours worked per week and emotional exhaustion (r=0.394). Conclusion: Graduate assistant athletic trainers report moderate levels of burnout, despite only having worked in the profession for a short time. There is minimal difference in burnout levels across different settings despite differences in hours, work environment, and other stressors. Burnout in this population needs to be addressed in order to prevent high attrition rates in the athletic training profession.


Matthew Kutz

Second Reader

Adam Fullenkamp