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Abstract

Background: Assessing personalities, using the NEO-FFI-3, of students admitted to Athletic Training Programs (ATP) has not been established. Furthermore, evaluation of potential differences in personality traits between successful and unsuccessful students has not been explored. Identifying NEO-FFI-3 traits correlated to ATP student outcomes may result in academic interventions as well as improve student success and retention. Purpose: To establish the mean NEO-FFI-3 scores of students admitted to ATPs. To assess if differences exist in NEO-FFI-3 scores between successful students (retained in ATP or passed the BOC Exam) and non-successful students (released from the ATP). Design: Survey research. Setting: Students admitted into ATP’s from five public universities and colleges were invited via email to complete the online version of the NEO-FFI-3. Participants/Subjects: The survey link was followed by 58 participants that had been admitted to an ATP with an expected graduation date between 2009 and 2016. Thirteen were eliminated for failure to sign the online informed consent or complete the NEO-FFI-3 in accordance with the instructions. The remaining 45 participants were used in the final analysis for this study (42 successful, 3 unsuccessful, 16 males, 29 females, age = 25±4.4 years). Methods: 45 participants completed an online IRB consent form. Following consent, they provided their sex, age, university, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and ATP success. Then they completed an online version of the NEO-FFI-3 Personality Assessment (coefficient alphas = .78 to .86). It is a 60-question assessment of the five domains of personality traits – neuroticism (N), extraversion (E), openness to experience (O), agreeableness (A), and conscientiousness (C). The mean scores for N, E, O, A, and C were calculated. Then significant differences between the mean scores of successful and non-successful students were analyzed. A Regression Analysis was used to determine whether the NEO-FFI-3 could predict the success of students based on their personality traits. Results: The mean scores for all students admitted to an ATP were N: 21.47±8.17, E: 32.98±6.64, O: 28.87±5.41, A: 32.56±6.58, and C: 35.04±5.40. When compared to the unsuccessful group, successful students scored higher in C, A, O, and E. Unsuccessful students scored higher in N. Weak statistically significant correlations were found between A and unsuccessful students (R: -0.324, p: 0.015), A and N (R: -0.325, p: 0.015), and A and E (R: 0.307, p: 0.020). Using the regression model, an R-Square Value of 0.124 was found with a p-value of 0.375. Conclusions: Given the results of this study, the NEO-FFI-3 cannot be used to predict success rates of students admitted to ATP’s based on their personality traits. Given the significant difference between mean scores of successful and unsuccessful students, further research is warranted before ruling out the NEO-FFI-3 as a means of establishing academic interventions to improve student retention rates.

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