ROLE STRAIN AMONG DUAL POSITION PHYSICAL EDUCATORS AND ATHLETIC TRAINERS WORKING IN THE HIGH SCHOOL SETTING

Authors

  • William A. Pitney
  • Moira E. Stuart
  • Jenny Parker

Abstract

Many physical education teachers are hired with the expectation that they fulfill an extracurricular role. Those who are dual position physical educators and athletic trainers may be exposed to many accumulating occupational pressures. The purpose of this mixed methods study, therefore, was to identify the extent to which role strain permeates the professional lives of dual position physical educators and athletic trainers working in the high school setting and to identify which components of role strain (i.e. role ambiguity, role conflict, role incompetence, etc.) are most prevalent and which variables predict role strain. We also sought to gain insight into the processes involved with the development and prevention of role strain. A survey was sent to 1,863 individuals who were certified teachers and athletic trainers working in the high school setting regarding the extent to which participants experienced role strain (1=never to 5=nearly all the time). The survey had a 31% response rate and 257 matched the criterion of being full time physical educator and athletic trainer working in the high school setting. Results revealed that 35 (13.6%) had high role strain, 72 (28.5%) had moderate role strain, 85 (33%) had low role strain, and 64 (24.9%) had minimal role strain. The regression analysis revealed only hours worked per week as an athletic trainer predicted total role strain. Twenty four volunteers participated in interviews. The qualitative data revealed that the time consuming nature of the dual role was a critical concern amongst the participants. Having a level of support and appreciation was found among individuals with lower levels of role strain. Individuals with lower levels of role strain tended to negotiate their role responsibilities with coaches and supervisors, whereas those with higher levels of role strain tended to accommodate all work-related constituents as much as possible. Low levels of role strain were most common amongst dual position physical educators and athletic trainers working in the high school setting. Hours worked per week as an athletic trainer was a predictor of one’s total role strain and role overload was a substantial concern amongst the participants. The research findings provide an awareness of role strain and the factors that influence it within the teaching and athletic training context.?

Published

2008-07-26

Issue

Section

Articles