Athletic Trainers' Familiarity, Comfort, Knowledge, and Recognition of Social Determinants of Health

Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Athletic Training


Context: Social determinants of health (SDOH)-education, transportation, housing, employment, health systems and services, economic status, and physical and social environments-influence patient outcomes; therefore, athletic trainers (ATs) need to understand and address these factors. However, little is known about how ATs perceive SDOH or how knowledgeable they are about social factors that contribute to patient health and well-being. Objective: To evaluate ATs' familiarity and comfort with SDOH and their perceived knowledge and recognition of SDOH. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Online survey. Patients or Other Participants: Our survey was distributed to 17 000 ATs; 1829 accessed it (access rate = 10.8%), and 1694 completed it (completion rate = 92.6%, AT experience = 15.2 ± 10.6 years, age = 36.6 ± 10.8 years). Main Outcome Measure(s): The survey included multipart questions that evaluated ATs' perceptions of their familiarity, comfort, and knowledge about SDOH. Data were summarized using descriptive statistics. Results: Few respondents (4.1%, 70/1691) reported being extremely familiar with SDOH. Most indicated being moderately familiar (45.0%, 761/1691), minimally familiar (34.7%, 587/1691), or not familiar at all (16.1%, 273/1691). For questions about comfort, few described being extremely comfortable (3.5%, 59/1691) with SDOH, and most reported being moderately comfortable (35.4%, 598/1691), minimally comfortable (41.1%, 695/1691), or not comfortable at all (18.6%, 314/1691). For questions about knowledge, few indicated being extremely knowledgeable (2.7%, 46/1686) about SDOH, and the majority described being moderately (36.8%, 622/1686), minimally (41.8%, 704/1686), or not knowledgeable at all (18.6%, 314/1686). Over half of ATs accurately categorized 8 of the 9 SDOH listed in the survey, and 22% endorsed more correct than incorrect items. Conclusions: A majority of ATs perceived their familiarity, comfort, and knowledge about SDOH to be moderate to low, which may reflect the relatively recent emphasis on SDOH in athletic health care. Because SDOH can have a major effect on patient health and well-being, strategies should be developed for educating ATs about SDOH. Developing strategies to increase comfort with SDOH in patient care is critical to ensure that those factors that can be addressed at the patient level are identified and managed.

First Page


Last Page




Publication Date


This document is currently not available here.