Date of Award

Summer 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Campbell, Todd C.

Second Advisor

Smith, Heather M.

Third Advisor

Edwards, Lisa


Preliminary research suggests that psychiatric illness is associated with poorer functional outcomes in physical therapy (PT), but there is scant research examining this relationship specifically. In this study, the impact of psychiatric diagnosis on functional outcome in PT was investigated. Study design was a retrospective review of medical records. Participants were 310 veterans (age: M = 72.05 years, SD = 11.86; 96% male, 74% White) admitted for inpatient rehabilitation and referred for PT. Statistical analyses included MANCOVA and ANCOVA. Independent variables were mood disorder diagnosis, substance use disorder diagnosis, and any psychiatric diagnosis. Dependent variables were the sum of Functional Independence Measure (FIM) mobility and locomotion subscales (M+L FIM) at discharge, and percent with which participants met their PT treatment goals. Session frequency was entered as a covariate, because prior research indicated that treatment intensity is an independent predictor of functional outcome. Statistical analyses were not statistically significant. Overall, results suggest that historical psychiatric diagnosis is not associated with PT functional outcome. However, limitations in the data and the study's design may explain the null findings. Consistent with prior research, treatment intensity had a statistically and clinically significant relationship with functional outcome, such that more frequent treatment was associated with greater mobility, locomotion, and achieving PT goals at discharge.