Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


College athletes--Iowa--Rehabilitation--Psychological aspects; Athletic trainers--Iowa--Attitudes; Coaches (Athletics)--Iowa--Attitudes; Coach-athlete relationships--Iowa;


Following an injury, athletes go through a cognitive evaluation to determine if resources are present to manage any potential stress attributed to being injured (e.g., Wiese-Bjornstal et al., 1995). This evaluation determines both behavioral and emotional responses to the injury and can be influenced by a number of factors, including social support (e.g., Wiese-Bjornstal et al., 1998). Social support serves as a resource that allows injured athletes to make a positive cognitive evaluation (e.g., Wiese-Bjornstal et al., 1998). Another factor that could influence the cognitive evaluation is interpersonal conflict. In athletics, interpersonal conflict is present in the form of athletic trainer-coach conflict that commonly revolves around the return to play decision (Wolverton, 2013).

The purpose of this study was to describe collegiate athletes’ perceptions of social support and athletic trainer-coach conflict. NCAA Division I, II, and III athletes (N = 246), who missed at least one week of practice or games due to an injury, were assessed on their perceptions on the presence of athletic trainer-coach conflict and social support from their athletic trainer and coach. Athletes in this study perceived low levels of athletic trainer-coach conflict with no differences based on their sport, status on the team, or level of competition. Negative relationships between acceptance and belonging and appraisal and coping support from the coach and task conflict were found. Additionally, behavioral and cognitive and modeling support from the coach were negatively related to relationship conflict. Results of perceived social support indicate that coaches and athletic trainers were quality sources of social support. Revenue athletes perceived higher levels of modeling social support from both the athletic trainer and coach when compared to non-revenue athletes. Additionally, NCAA Division II/III athletes perceived higher levels of acceptance and belonging support from the coach. No specific subscales of social support were significantly different based upon athlete’s status on the team. However, acceptance and belonging and appraisal and coping support for starters from the coach approached significance. Understanding variables that can influence the cognitive evaluation following an injury is important to allow for the athlete to respond positively when injured.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services


Division of Athletic Training

First Advisor

Windee Weiss, Committee Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ix, 156 pages)



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