The Relationship Between Spiritual Well-Being and Burnout In Collegiate Athletic Trainers

Document Type


Publication Date



Health Professions


Context: Spiritual well-being is the expression of one's spirituality as measured in the dimensions of existential and religious well-being. The Smith Cognitive Affective Model of Athletic Burnout suggests that personality factors such as spiritual well-being and the use of religious coping methods may affect burnout as well as its causes and outcomes. This has not been examined in collegiate athletic trainers (ATs).

Objective: To investigate the relationship between spiritual well-being and burnout in collegiate ATs.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Web-based survey.

Patients or Other Participants: A total of 783 certified ATs employed full time in the collegiate setting participated. Part-time employees (eg, graduate assistants, interns) were excluded.

Main Outcome Measure(s): A 100-item online questionnaire was created for this study. It used items from previously developed scales, including the Spiritual Well-Being Scale, the Brief RCOPE, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, and substance-use questions from the Monitoring the Future study. Participants were able to complete the survey in approximately 10–15 minutes. Multiple regression analyses were used to analyze survey data. We mapped all independent (existential well-being, religious well-being, positive and negative religious coping) and dependent variables (situational variables, Maslach Burnout Inventory burnout subscales, substance use, and intention to leave) onto the Smith Cognitive-Affective Model of Athletic Burnout to determine which variables altered burnout levels, substance use, and intention to leave. Tests of mediation or moderation were conducted when appropriate.

Results: Existential well-being was a significant positive predictor of social support and a significant negative predictor of work-family conflict, decreased sense of personal accomplishment, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, intention to leave the profession, and binge drinking. Existential well-being also served as a mediator or moderator in several components of the model.

Conclusions: Existential well-being was a protective factor against burnout as well as some of the causes and effects of burnout in collegiate ATs.

Publication Title

Journal of Athletic Training





First Page


Last Page


Find in your library