Prevalence and Outcomes of Exposure to Catastrophic Events among Athletic Trainers

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© by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Inc Context: Little is known about the prevalence of exposure to catastrophic events or how caring for athletes exposed to catastrophic events can influence burnout in athletic trainers (ATs). Objective: To assess (1) the prevalence of exposure to catastrophic events, (2) the levels of burnout among ATs who have been exposed to catastrophic events, and (3) the coping strategies they used. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Online survey. Patients or Other Participants: We invited 9881 certified members of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association to participate in this study; 1007 surveys were completed, for a response rate of 10.2% (433 men, 572 women, and 2 who preferred not to answer the question). Main Outcome Measure(s): Participants completed an online survey to assess demographic information, exposure to a catastrophic event, and scores on the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). Scores on the MBI-HSS (personal accomplishment, depersonalization, and emotional exhaustion subscales) and CISS (avoidance, task, and emotion-oriented subscales) were determined. Two multivariate analyses of variance (one for MBI-HSS and one for CISS) were conducted using the independent variable of group (catastrophic event and no catastrophic event). The a level was set at P, .05 for all analyses. Results: A total of 518 ATs (51.4%) reported providing care to athletes exposed to a catastrophic event and 489 (48.6%) did not. The group that reported providing care for athletes exposed to a catastrophic event had a significantly worse personal accomplishment score (46.1 6 6.7) than the group that had never provided such care (44.6 6 7.7; P, .05). The emotion-oriented score for those who had provided care for athletes exposed to a catastrophic event was 14.3 6 4.8 versus 14.9 6 4.2 for those who had not (P, .05), indicating less use of emotion-oriented coping strategies. Conclusions: The ATs who provided care to athletes exposed to a catastrophic event could be more likely to suffer from a lack of personal accomplishment and exhibit task and emotion-oriented coping behaviors.