The role of work-family conflict: The career and life satisfaction of Division I-A athletic trainers

Date of Completion

January 2005


Education, Physical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies




Individuals often perform multiple roles, such as parent, spouse, caregiver, homemaker and employee. Trying to balance the time, energy, and commitment each role demands can lead to work-family conflict. Certified Athletic Trainers (ATC) are particularly susceptible to this phenomenon largely due in part to the nature of their profession. Long hours and inflexible, travel and demanding work schedules, which are inherent characteristics of the profession, can often predispose athletic trainers to experience a variety of unique stressors. Capel (1990) identified multiple factors that contribute to athletic trainers leaving the profession, including lack of family/personal time, extensive time commitment, low salary, and limited opportunity for career advancement, poor working conditions, and conflicts with co-workers. A 2002 survey conducted by the National Athletic Trainers Association's (NATA) Women in Athletic Training Committee also revealed family/personal life as a prime concern for ATCs. The primary purpose of this study is to build upon the Netemeyer et al. (1996) examination of working professional and to add to the sparse literature examining work-family conflict in athletic training (Capel, 1990; NATA, 2002) and its potential to lead to stress, burnout, and the outcomes of this stress and burnout on job and life satisfaction. ^ A mixed methods approach of descriptive survey research and in-depth one-on-one interviews was utilized to examine the perceived work-family conflict of Certified Athletic Trainers working in NCAA Division I-A universities sponsoring football. Results indicate that Division I-A athletic trainers are experiencing difficulties balancing their work and home lives. Regression analyses reveal that long work hours and travel directly contribute to WFC. Furthermore, inflexible schedules and lack of staffing at the Division I-A level contributed to ATCs experiencing WFC. Years of experience, workload, job satisfaction and WFC directly contributed to feelings of job burnout. Although, the participants did not directly link WFC to intentions to leave the profession, several alluded to family related issues as potential grounds to leave in the future. Low pay and long hours were primary reasons cited for ATCs to contemplate a change within the profession or to leave entirely. ^