Thursday, December 13, 2012
Asst Prof Beth Black publishes study about Personal Health BehaviorsAssistant Professor Beth Black of the School of Health Sciences led a team of researchers who published a report about Personal Health Behaviors and Role-Modeling Attitudes of Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Students: A Cross-Sectional Study in the November issue of the journal Physical Therapy (Volume 92, Pages 1419-1436). Coauthors include Special Instructor in Physical Therapy Christine Stiller and Assistant Researcher Ronald Gellish, both of the School of Health Sciences, Associate Professor Xianggui (Harvey) Qu, of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and former OU Professor Beth Marcoux, now at the University of Rhode Island. The abstract of the paper is given below.
Background. Physical therapists have been encouraged to engage in health
promotion practice. Health professionals who engage in healthy behaviors themselves
are more apt to recommend those behaviors, and patients are more motivated
to change their behaviors when their health care provider is a credible role model.
This research was supported by an Oakland University Physical Therapy Program research grant.
Objective. The purpose of this study was to describe the health behaviors and
role-modeling attitudes of physical therapists and physical therapist students.
Design. This study was a descriptive cross-sectional survey.
Methods. A national sample of 405 physical therapists and 329 physical therapist
students participated in the survey. Participants’ attitudes toward role modeling and
behaviors related to physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, abstention
from smoking, and maintenance of a healthy weight were measured. Wilcoxon rank
sum tests were used to examine differences in attitudes and behaviors between
physical therapists and physical therapist students.
Results. A majority of the participants reported that they engage in regular physical
activity (80.8%), eat fruits and vegetables (60.3%), do not smoke (99.4%), and
maintain a healthy weight (78.7%). Although there were no differences in behaviors,
physical therapist students were more likely to believe that role modeling is a
powerful teaching tool, physical therapist professionals should “practice what they
preach,” physical activity is a desirable behavior, and physical therapist professionals
should be role models for nonsmoking and maintaining a healthy weight.
Limitations. Limitations of this study include the potential for response bias and
social desirability bias.
Conclusions. Physical therapists and physical therapist students engage in health promoting
behaviors at similarly high rates but differ in role-modeling attitudes.