Exploring and Identifying the Constructs of a Quality Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Performance and Recreation

First Advisor

Trenton E. Gould

Advisor Department

Human Performance and Recreation


The sequential exploratory design used in this research identified constructs defining quality certified athletic trainers (ATC). The first portion was a qualitative study utilizing a Delphi technique to establish a grounded theory. Thirteen ATC's with at least 5 years experience (M: n = 8; F: n = 5) participated in the initial development of the Quality Affirmation Theory (QAT). The QAT depicts 5 sub-constructs that are essential in the establishment of three higher order constructs that are requisite to being a quality ATC. Development of the QAT established adjective descriptors of quality ATCs used in the second portion of the study. The QAT descriptors were quantitative assessed using the Quality Athletic Trainer Questionnaire (QATQ). The QATQ is comprised of the Quality Athletic Trainer Scale (QATS) and the Quality Athletic Trainer Dilemmas (QATD). The QATS is a semantic differential contrasting adjectives. The QATD presented typical day scenarios in athletic training. The QATQ attempted to support the organization of the 5 sub-constructs depicted in the QAT and if age, sex, years of experience, and education level of ATCs could predict participant agreement with the adjectives. Participants (N=301) were stratified across the NATA. Item level factor analysis revealed an indeterminate structure of the scores. Sub-construct factor analysis and internal consistency demonstrated a cohesive measure of the construct quality. The independent variables did not predict summative scores of the QATQ indicating that participants expressed attitudes favoring the positive adjective descriptors of quality regardless of age, sex, years of experience, or educational level. This study is a starting point on development of a global understanding of a quality ATC. The study identified important aspects of quality. Further assessment of how these constructs will impact an athletic trainers ability to balance their professional lives with personal lives while providing quality care to patients is warranted.