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DOI

10.25035/jsmahs.05.03.03

Abstract

Context: Physical appearance and dress attire may be a major influence on a person’s perception of an individual’s professional competence. Objective: To examine influence of Athletic Trainer (AT) physical appearance and dress attire on student-athletes’ perception of an AT’s competence. Design: Cross-Sectional Study Setting: NATA District 5 Participants: Student athletes (n=156; female: n=71; male: n=78) from NCAA Division III and NAIA institutions participated in the study. Interventions: Participants viewed one of four Body Mass Index (BMI) specific AT images [underweight BMI=18, normal weight BMI=24, overweight BMI=30, or an obese BMI=36] while answering 36 Student Athlete Response (SAR) Form survey questions regarding professional competence. AT specific images alternated between a male or female and dressed in either business casual or athletic attire. Participants completed eight behavioral characteristics derived from 5th edition of the Athletic Training Education Competencies by selecting an optimal BMI from a silhouette scale. Main Outcome Measures: ANOVA and post hoc analyzed SAR Form Data. Composite sub-scores were calculated for AT dress (business casual and athletic attire) and gender (male and female). Independent t-test measured silhouette scale data. Results: A significant main effect was found for AT BMI [F (3, 152)=6.2, p n2=.9355]. A post-hoc test revealed obese BMI (139.55 ± 25.9; 95% CI=131.25, 147.85), differed significantly (p < .05) in composite SAR mean score from underweight (159.19 ± 15; 95% CI=154.18, 164.20) and normal weight (153.26 ± 17.5; 95% CI=147.86, 158.65) AT BMI categories. A significant main effect was found for AT dress [F (1, 154)=27.74, p 2 vs. 26.04 ± 3.8kg/m2; pConclusions: Student-athletes perceive a relationship between an AT’s physical appearance and professional competence. More specifically, student-athletes perceived both an AT that was normal and underweight as well as an AT that was dressed in business attire as more competent than the alternatives.

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