Date of Completion


Embargo Period



interpersonal conflict, athletic training, organizational conflict, secondary school

Major Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Mazerolle

Associate Advisor

Dr. Thomas Bowman

Associate Advisor

Dr. Douglas Casa

Associate Advisor

Dr. Craig Denegar

Associate Advisor

Dr. Robert Huggins

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Background: Conflict, bullying, and negative workplace behavior have been a focus of the health care professions due to the negative impact on clinicians. Athletic training is no exception. Clinician-coach conflict has been highlighted in the collegiate setting, but secondary school athletic trainers’ (ATs) experiences with conflict are not well understood.

Purpose: To develop and validate an organizational conflict and workplace dynamic scale for secondary school ATs, and to assess level and source of conflict and pressure across various employment demographics.

Study Design: Cross-sectional online survey

Methods: Two separate cohorts of secondary school ATs were recruited for this study. Respondents completed an online questionnaire consisting of demographic questions, 5-point Likert scale items pertaining to organizational conflict and relationship characteristics, and quantitative measures regarding experiences with conflict and pressure. Instrument validation procedures included exploratory factor analysis (EFA) using data from cohort 1, and confirmatory factor analysis using the second dataset. Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance, Chi-square analyses, and odds ratios assessed for associations between organizational conflict measures and employment demographics.

Results: A total of 1,048 ATs completed the questionnaire. EFA revealed a 5-factor structure explaining 51% of the variance in organizational conflict measures. Fit indices indicated poor fit of the data to the pre-determined model. Coaches and parents were frequently identified as sources of conflict, selected by 54% and 59% of respondents, respectively. Relationships between employment demographics and organizational conflict measures were negligible (Cramer’s V

Conclusions: Secondary school ATs reported experiencing pressure from and conflict with the individuals they interact with as part of their job, independent of employment type and status. Conflict in the workplace negatively impacts interpersonal relationships, job satisfaction, and patient care. ATs are encouraged to establish positive, collaborative workplace environments that prioritize student-athlete health and safety above all else.

Key Words: interpersonal conflict