Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Teaching, Learning, and Leadership


This study examined whether professional role complexities existed for certified athletic trainers (ATCs) employed at the collegiate level, and if so, what impact these role complexities had upon job satisfaction and intent to leave a current position or the profession. The amount and sources of role complexities were examined for collegiate ATCs who were employed in clinical, faculty, or joint appointment positions.

Potential for professional role complexities exist in any situation where multiple role obligations are present in the workplace. Professional role complexities for health care employees often manifest into tension, dissatisfaction, lack of energy or ambition, and decreased attention or commitment to patient care possibly jeopardizing the patient's health and well being (Hardy & Conway, 1988).

A random sample of 1,000 collegiate ATCs were sent invitations to participate in this study by taking an online survey. 348 responses were received. Descriptive statistics were calculated for the demographic, role orientation, role complexity, job satisfaction, and intent to leave sections of the study. Respondents were grouped into demographic and professional role categories to facilitate ANOVA and multiple regression analyses between the variables of overall role complexity, role conflict, role ambiguity, role incongruity, role incompetence, role overload, inter-sender conflict, intra-sender conflict, inter-role conflict, job satisfaction, intent to leave current position, and intent to leave profession.

Statistical examination of felt role complexities among the study respondents found that collegiate ATCs with clinical or joint appointments experienced various role issues that affected job satisfaction. Approximately 20% of clinicians and joint appointees experienced moderate to high levels of stress due to global role complexity, while 30% of them felt similar levels of stress due to role conflict. Twenty three percent of clinicians and 36% of joint appointees experienced at least moderate stress from role ambiguity while role overload accounted for moderate to high levels of stress for 36% of clinicians, 37% of faculty, and 41% of joint appointees. Role complexity predicted job satisfaction, intent to leave current position, and intent to leave profession for clinicians, while only predicting intent to leave current position for faculty members and job satisfaction for joint appointees.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access