Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This quasi-experimental study examines, from the standpoint of the personal trainer, the extent to which the working alliance and its component parts of goal, task and bond as defined within Bordin's (1975, 1979) theoretical framework, are experienced in the working relationship between personal trainer and client. Additionally, the study explores whether a personal trainer's or a client's ethnicity or gender, a trainer's age or training history, the frequency of the personal training sessions, or the length of the training relationship impact the working alliance total or its subscale scores. An anonymous online survey was distributed by email to several hundred personal trainers. The survey included demographic information about the personal trainer, questions about the personal training client and length and frequency of the training relationship, and the Working Alliance Inventory - Short Revised Therapist-rated version (WAI-SRT-G). After data collection was complete, the sample consisted of 94 nationally-certified personal trainers, aged 21 years or older, who trained at least 50% of their clients in a gym setting. The major findings of the study were 1.) The mean total alliance and subscale scores reflected the presence of a strong working alliance. 2.) The bond subscales scores had the highest mean. 3.) When total alliance and subscale scores were compared by gender or ethnicity of personal trainer or client, no significant differences were found. 4.) Significant differences in total alliance and in certain subscales were found across the number of weekly training sessions and the personal trainers' years of experience


Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2008. iv, 87 p. Includes bibliographical references (p. 72-78)