Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if physical therapists (PTs) in Dade and Broward Counties recognized depressive signs and symptoms (DSS) in the elderly.

Guiding Questions: Do PTs recognize DSS? What actions do PTs take once believing a patient is depressed? Do PTs believe depression negatively affects function? Do PTs believe they would benefit from more information?

Subjects and Methods: A survey was distributed to a total of 330 randomly selected PTs who were a part of the pilot and actual study. Two questionnaires were returned due to incorrect addresses. A total of 132 questionnaires were returned.

Results: Fifty-one percent of the respondents recognized all DSS as listed in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition. The majority of respondents referred depressed patients to other health care providers, believed depression negatively affected function, and felt they would benefit from more information.

Principal Conclusions: The results of this survey indicated that PTs were recognizing DSS and were being the patient's advocate by referring depressed patients to other health care specialists. All respondents believed depression negatively affected function, and the majority felt they would benefit from more information regarding the identification and instruction of DSS.


Physical Therapy

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