The Indirect Influence of Organizational Safety Climate on Football Players’ Concussion Reporting Intentions
Most of the health interventions designed to increase athletes’ reporting of potential concussion symptoms have focused only on the individual athlete. Unfortunately, interventions targeted at athletes’ knowledge and understanding of concussion risk has not reliably increased their reporting behavior, leading to increased calls for “changing the culture of concussion reporting.” To date, no studies have examined the role of organizational safety climate has on concussion-symptom reporting behavior. We hypothesized that players’ perception of organizational safety climate would be indirectly related to their concussion symptom reporting intentions, via the influence of safety culture on supportive social norms and self-efficacy, two well-known predictors of concussion reporting intentions. We used structural equation modeling techniques to create robust latent measures of our model variables and then examined the indirect influence of football program safety climate on football players’ symptom reporting intentions. Surveys were completed by NCAA Division I football players (N = 223) before and after the 2017 football season. We tested a confirmatory factor analysis and hypothesized latent variable model with preseason data, made small adjustments to our model (adding correlated error terms), and then confirmed using postseason data. We also examined a competing, alternative model. Results support the indirect and influence of perceived safety climate on concussion reporting intentions primarily via the relationship between safety climate and social norms, and to a lesser extent between safety climate and self-efficacy. Discussion focuses on the importance of considering the addition of interventions aimed at systems-level influences to facilitate supportive social norms and athlete self-efficacy regarding concussion symptom reporting.