Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Sport and Exercise Psychology

Committee Chair

Michelle A Sandrey

Committee Co-Chair

Robert Bonser

Committee Member

Damien Clement


Context: Since 2007, much of the literature has determined a need for recognition and resolution of ethical situations in the athletic training profession. Existing demographic studies suggest areas of improvement for athletic training education program (ATEP) ethics curriculum, however, little has been accomplished within the past nine years. The athletic training field has not addressed specific guidelines needed to teach ethics courses or an appropriate curriculum for the undergraduate ATEP setting. Educational guidelines should be developed for ethics education in undergraduate ATEPs. Objective: The purpose of this study is to develop guidelines for ethics education in undergraduate ATEPs. Design: This was a prospective-descriptive study that utilized an emailed questionnaire to describe and compare ethics educational guidelines using the Modified Delphi Technique. Setting: Questionnaires were distributed by email to select athletic training and ethics educators that have knowledge of medical ethics and athletic training education. Patients or Other Participants: Seven athletic training educators and three medical ethics educators were recruited for the panel. Inclusion criterion for this study specifically stated that the educator must have a minimum of 5 years experience as an athletic training program director, athletic training educator, medical ethics educator, or ethics committee member. The educators could also work at any level of university and teach in a multitude of health-related professional programs including: medicine, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychology. Exclusion criterion included educators that do not have the minimum 5-year experience with athletic training education or medical ethics-related curriculum and course work. Interventions: A 60 item questionnaire separated into seven total sections (demographic questions, curriculum components, athletic trainer misconduct, ethical competencies, educational methods, presentation of curriculum, and program requirements) was developed based on medical ethics literature for undergraduate medical, nursing, and allied health professions. A first round cover letter with a link to the questionnaire on Qualtrics was emailed to the participants. One follow up e-mail was sent to remind participants to complete the questionnaire. After two weeks, a second email with the questionnaire was sent with responses (frequencies, percentages, means and write-in comments) from the first round. Another follow-up e-mail was sent to remind participants to complete the final round questionnaire. Returned questionnaires were recorded on Qualtrics database for analysis. The guidelines for ethics training were developed based on the responses that met consensus (75% agreement for strongly agree and agree and a mean score of 4) from the second round questionnaire. Main Outcome Measures: The dependent variables included curriculum components, athletic trainer misconduct, ethics competencies, educational methods, presentation of curriculum, and program requirements. Results: The final set of guidelines for ethics education consisted of 40 components from six sections. Statistical analysis of means and frequency ranges for each dependent variable found high consensus for Curriculum Components (n= 17, Mean R2=4.16, R2= 20-80%), Athletic Trainer Misconduct (n= 5, Mean R2=4.36, Freq R2= 20-80%), Ethics Competencies (n=11, Mean R2=4.56, Freq R2= 25-100%), and Program Requirements (n=5, Mean R2=4.15, Freq R2= 25-100%). Overall, low consensus was found for the remaining two sections, Educational Methods (Mean R2=3.30, Freq R2= 25-75%) and Presentation of Curriculum (Mean R2=2.80, Freq R2= 25-75%). Conclusion: Based on the information gathered through this prospective-descriptive study, the original ethics education guidelines contained 58 components with two write-in comments from the panel, for a total of 60 components. After the second round, 40 components met consensus. The responses by the panel of experts allowed for the development of guidelines for ethics education in undergraduate athletic training programs.