Description: Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) play a unique role in sport environments as the primary medical staff available to athletes. Thus, ATCs are well positioned to oversee athletes’ physical and psychological well-being. Although sport psychologists (SPs) have been identified as a potential resource for ATCs, previous studies have reported a lack of collaboration between SPs and ATCs. This study aimed to (a) examine ATCs’ views regarding professional roles for both ATCs and SPs, (b) explore ATCs’ referral behaviors, (c) evaluate ATCs belief in the credibility of sport psychology across demographic (i.e., gender, age) and experiential variables (i.e., access to SPs), and (d) examine ATCs’ involvement in sport psychology. Four hundred ninety-six ATCs (265 men, 231 women) completed and returned the questionnaire. ATCs viewed assisting in the psychological recovery of athletes as the most acceptable professional role for fellow ATCs; aiding in the psychological recovery of injured athletes and teach mental skills were identified by ATCs as the most appropriate roles for SPs. In considering an athlete experiencing interpersonal difficulties (e.g., relationship problems), a mixed design ANOVA revealed a ATC sex by referral option interaction; female and male ATCs indicated they would likely refer the athlete to a counselor/therapist, followed by a SP, however, female ATCs reported a greater likelihood of referring to a counselor/therapist than male ATCs whereas male ATCs indicated a greater likelihood of referring to a SP. Further, ATCs’ regular access to SPs and completion of formal sport psychology coursework were identified as variables associated with greater belief in the credibility of sport psychology. These results suggest that access and previous experience with SPs remain significant variables associated with ATCs views about, and belief in, the work of SPs. Implications for sport psychology professionals and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Ramaeker, Joseph P.