Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Sport and Exercise Psychology

Committee Chair

Sam Zizzi

Committee Co-Chair

Damien Clement

Committee Member

Edward F. Etzel

Committee Member

Christine Schimmel

Committee Member

Vanessa R. Shannon


This study's purpose was to expand the literature based in the area of psychology of injury by assessing certified athletic trainers' (ATs') skills in symptom identification, intended course of action, and intervention identification with athletes experiencing psychological distress. Using a web-based survey protocol, data were collected from 326 (191 female and 132 male) ATs using three case vignettes. AT responses were compared to a panel of experts in psychology of injury and assessed for accuracy. Results indicated that ATs demonstrated high accuracy in symptom identification and making referral decision, but struggled in identifying appropriate interventions for athletes. Stepwise regression analyses revealed that as ATs reported more specific coursework in sport psychology, they were able to more accurately identify symptoms across all cases (t = 3.01, p < .01) and those ATs with more experience reported lower scores in accurately choosing a course of action (t = -2.25, p < .05). Overall, the results provide evidence of ATs' abilities to apply their knowledge of sport psychology within the athletic training realm while also raising some important questions regarding the structure of existing sport psychology coursework. Findings may emphasize the inclusion of coursework focusing more heavily on applied areas of sport psychology in the training of ATs.