University of Oregon

Department of Human Physiology Graduate Studies in Athletic Training and Sports Medicine

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Religion as a means of coping with stress among athletic trainers

Kimberly Detwiler MS ATC

Burnout has become a topic of interest among athletic trainers in recent years. The ability to cope with stress is very important in the prevention of burnout as well as dealing with the day-to-day stress that is inherent in athletic training. Religious faith has been shown in the literature to be helpful in coping with stress. We examined the relationship between religious faith and the ability to cope with stress among athletic trainers.

Design and Setting:
A survey created by the primary author was emailed to 1,000 certified athletic trainers. The survey had several components: demographic information, perceived stress, job stress, social support, religious faith, and religious practice.

There were 93 female subjects and 91 male subjects in our study. One-hundred and twenty five subjects were certified athletic trainers with a master’s degree or above, 39 subjects were certified athletic trainers with a bachelor’s degree and not currently in school, 7 subjects were certified athletic trainers in graduate school, and 13 subjects answered other. Subjects worked in the traditional or clinical setting.

We used a Perceived Stress Survey and the Athletic Training Issues Survey (both adapted from previous studies) to examine stress level of athletic trainers. We used three questions from the Social Support Questionnaire to examine social support. Lastly, we created a Religious Practice Inventory which resulted in each subject receiving a Faith/Coping Score, a Subjective Faith Score, and Religious Practice Score. The subjects were grouped into Non-Religious and Religious groups for data analysis, and the Religious group was further broken down into high/low Subjective Faith and high/low Religious Practice groups.

Our data showed no relationship between religious faith or religious practice and stress level. We also found the relationship between social support and stress level to be insignificant.

Our data show that religious faith alone is not an effective means of coping with stress among athletic trainers.