Athletic Trainers and Psychological Disorders Among Athletes: An Examination of Their Abilities to Recognize, Diagnose and Intervene.
Description: Utilizing an analogue research design conducted via the Internet, this study assessed athletic trainers' abilities to recognize, diagnose, and intervene with a hypothetical athlete experiencing depression, and examined the impact of their gender, athlete gender, and athlete's presenting problem on their decisions. Athletic trainers' perceived competency in using psychosocial interventions with athletes, history of referring athletes to psychology professionals, and training backgrounds in psychology also were examined. Participants (270 male and 370 female certified athletic trainers) were randomly assigned to one of six conditions (Athlete Gender X Presenting Problem). After reading the appropriate vignette, they completed questions related to the athlete's psychological symptoms and diagnosis, referral recommendations, and use of psychosocial interventions if working with the athlete. The vignettes were identical except for the athlete's gender and problem. Overall, athletic trainers accurately identified the athlete's depressive symptoms/diagnosis and need for psychological referral. They rated the athlete significantly higher in Depressive Symptoms than in Anger/Agitation Symptoms and Compulsive Behavioral Symptoms, and as more likely to be experiencing a depressive disorder compared to an adjustment disorder, anxiety disorder, sleep disorder, or substance abuse disorder. Female athletic trainers provided significantly higher ratings of Depressive Symptoms than males and the injured athlete was rated significantly higher in Anger/Agitation than the performance problem athlete. Diagnosis ratings were not influenced by athlete gender, athletic trainer gender, or type of problem. Athletic trainers were most likely to refer the athlete to a psychology professional compared to an allied health professional, treating the athlete themselves, or doing nothing. Presenting problem significantly impacted referral recommendations. If treating the athlete themselves, athletic trainers were significantly more likely to use supportive interventions than cognitive-behavioral techniques; they felt significantly more competent in providing supportive interventions. Competency in both interventions was significantly enhanced if athletic trainers completed psychology coursework. Findings suggest that athletic ...
Date: December 2006
Creator: Albinson, Courtney Brooks