Perceptions of Medical Professionals Regarding the Role of Certified Athletic Trainers On the Female Athlete Triad Treatment Team

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Performance and Recreation

First Advisor

Susan Hubble Burchell

Advisor Department

Human Performance and Recreation


The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of physicians, registered dietitians, counselors, and certified athletic trainers (ATC) regarding the role of the ATC in recognizing, referring, and treating the female athlete triad (Triad) patient. The researcher developed the Medical Professional Perception Inventory (MPPI) which included four constructs (role, recognize, refer, and treat) and was used to assess the perceptions of medical professionals regarding the role of the ATC in recognizing, referring, and treating the female athlete triad patient. This was a causal comparative study for which one hundred seventy-five out of nine hundred participants returned the MPPI questionnaire. Participants were randomly selected from medical specialty member lists, and represented states within Districts 8 and 10 of the National Athletic Trainers' Association. MANOVA results indicated that medical profession significantly influenced the combined DV of (a) the role of the ATC on the Triad treatment team, (b) the ATC ability to recognize the Triad patient, (c) the ATC ability to refer the Triad patient, and (d) the ATC ability to treat the Triad patient (Pillai's Trace=.211, F (12, 510)=3.213, p <.001, partial η2 =.07). The dependent variables were intercorrelated, therefore a discriminant analysis was conducted as a follow-up to the significant MANOVA. The results of this study indicated that RDs have significantly favorable perceptions of ATCs in their ability to refer Triad patients, but have significantly lower perceptions than MDs, MHPs, and ATCs regarding the ability of the ATC to treat Triad patients. These different perceptions may warrant further research and collaboration with representatives from the four medical professions identified in this study to understand the extent to which these perceptions are held.