Exploring adverse outcomes and potential alleviators of burnout in athletic training students.
The primary purpose of this study was to determine if increased burnout scores (i.e., EE, DP, PA) predicted negative academic outcomes (i.e., low GPA, depressive symptoms, thoughts of drop out, unprofessional clinical and cheating behaviors) in athletic training students. A theoretical model predicting the relationships between academic variables (e.g., study time), burnout scores, and adverse outcomes in dental students proposed by Atalayin et al. (2015) was adapted for use in this study. The secondary purpose of this study was to determine if physical wellness behaviors (i.e., diet quality, physical activity) and coping mechanisms related to burnout scores in a sample of athletic training students. This relationship was hypothesized based on previous literature identifying relationships between coping mechanisms and burnout scores in other samples of healthcare professionals and student samples (Cumbe et al., 2017; Guo et al., 2018; Naugle et al., 2013; Palupi & Findyartini et al., 2019). We also sought to determine if coping mechanisms and physical wellness behaviors mediate the relationship between stress and burnout in our sample of athletic training students based on findings identified in other samples of students and healthcare providers (Raedeke & Smith, 2004; Wallace et al., 2010). Path analysis and structural equation modeling were utilized to identify if our adapted model successfully described the relationships between academic variables, burnout scores, and adverse outcomes in our sample of athletic training students. Our model successfully identified that increased study time predicted increased burnout scores in our sample of athletic training students. Additionally, increased burnout scores predicted one or more adverse outcomes of burnout in our sample. Pearson correlation coefficients identified relationships between stress, burnout, physical wellness behaviors, and coping mechanisms. Adaptive coping mechanisms and diet quality were related to reductions in burnout scores on one or more burnout subscales. Furthermore, we identified that diet quality and maladaptive coping mechanisms mediated the relationship between stress and burnout scores on one or more subscales.