Date of Award

Fall 1998

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Berkowitz, Marvin W.

Second Advisor

Fox, Robert A.

Third Advisor

Inderrieden, Edward J.


The main objective of this study was to identify, through logistic regression, variables that characterized two groups: student physical therapists (SPTs) who worked with elderly patients early in their careers and practicing physical therapists (PTs) who worked with elderly patients. Allen and Potkey's Adjective Generation Technique, Azjen and Fishbein's Theory of Reasoned Behavior and Schwartz's Theory of Integrated Value Systems guided hypothesis formation. It was hypothesized that individuals who worked with elderly patients would (1) have favorable attitudes toward working with this age group, (2) prefer working with this age group, (3) intend to work with this age group, and (4) prioritize values that serve self-transcendence and conservation goals. Standard biodata and work related information were included as predictor variables. Final year students in the Masters in Physical Therapy curriculum at Marquette were surveyed University (n = 95) and followed-up after one (N = 52) and two (N = 33) years of clinical practice. Four hundred physical therapist members of the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association were also surveyed. The logistic model for the student's first year of practice explained 12.4% of the variance in working with patients classified as elderly or non-elderly. The second year model explained 30.4% of the variance. Value importance ratings explained the highest percentage of variance in both student models (7.8% and 10.1% respectively). With these undersized student samples, no significant differences were found between students who did and did not work with elderly patients. The logistic model for physical therapists explained 69.2% of the variance. Preference for and intention to work with elderly or non-elderly patient age groups explained over half of the variance. Four significant differences were found. PTs who worked with elderly patients had: (1) higher favorable attitude scores regarding working with elderly patients, (2) a preference for and (3) an intention to work with elderly patients and, (4) higher importance ratings of values serving the motivational goal of power. This last finding was unexpected. Two of five hypotheses were supported by the PTs findings.



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