Date of Completion
Dr. Douglas J. Casa, Dr. Lindsay J. DiStefano, Dr. Ashley Goodman
Field of Study
Master of Science
Factors and Strategies that Contribute to Work Life Balance of Female Athletic Trainers Employed in the NCAA Division I setting
Ferraro EM, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Context: Work life balance (WLB) can be challenging particularly for female athletic trainers (ATs). Evidence suggests female-ATs persist in the profession because of job enjoyment, increased autonomy, and social support networks. Departure factors such as long hours, travel, and inflexibility of schedules often comprise issues with WLB. Time management, support networks, and setting boundaries are strategies used to find WLB, however, little is known about the strategies female-ATs use to maintain WLB in the Division I setting as they seem to struggle more with finding WLB potentially due to the responsibilities associated with motherhood. Objective: To gain insight of contributing factors and strategies used by female-ATs employed in the Division I collegiate setting to fulfill WLB. Design: Structured, online asynchronous interviews via QuestionPro™ Setting: NCAA Division I Collegiate setting. Patients or Other Participants: 27 female-ATs (single=14; married=6; married with children=7) currently employed as full-time ATs in the NCAA Division I setting participated. Majority of female-ATs were contracted for 12 months and worked 58±19 hours a week. Primary sport coverage responsibility was women’s basketball (9 female-ATs) followed by women’s soccer (7 female-ATs) and football and volleyball (3 female-ATs). Data Collection and Analysis: Female-ATs responded to a series of open-ended questions via reflective journaling using QuestionPro™, a secure data tracking website. The survey was piloted prior to distribution. Data was examined borrowing from the principles of general inductive approach. Trustworthiness was established by multiple analyst triangulation, member interpretive review, and peer review. Results: Regardless of marital status, participants indicated 3 main factors influencing WLB; hours worked and travel, inflexibility and control of work schedules, and communication with coaches. These factors have been shown to affect retention by pressuring ATs to sacrifice time spent with family and limiting personal time, while insufficiently meeting their financial needs. Female-ATs who were married and/or had children found the ability to prioritize and have separation from work as useful strategies to fulfill WLB. Single female-ATs utilized time away through exercise as a means to achieve WLB. Regardless of marital status, the main factor necessary to accomplish WLB was to have a strong support system both at work and home. No formal policies or strategies were in place to help mothers achieve a work life balance. Conclusions: As indicated in previous research, female-ATs experience issues with WLB in the Division I setting. Female-ATs should continue to make time away from the role of AT and as the literature indicates, capitalize on informal resources such as co-worker support as a means to maintain WLB. WLB strategies are useful, but formal policies need to be established to help retain female-ATs in the profession. Future research may investigate what policies and strategies can be employed to achieve WLB.
Ferraro, Elizabeth M., "A Perspective on Work Life Balance in the NCAA Division I Setting: From the Female Athletic Trainer" (2013). Master's Theses. 393.
Dr. Stephanie M. Mazerolle