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: Determine the difference between the empathic abilities of first and second year physical therapy graduate students and licensed, practicing physical therapists with a minimum of one year of clinical experience.

Subjects: A total of 100 first year students, 88 second year students from Nova Southeastern University and 350 licensed, practicing physical therapists in Duval, Pinellas, and Dade counties in Florida.

Methods: Respondents completed the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) to measure their empathic abilities. Crosstabulations and Chi-Square tests were used to determine if the three groups of subjects differed based upon their demographic data. One-way ANOVA tests and two-tailed t-tests with the alpha level at .05 were used to determine if differences between those of first and second year students.

Findings: Females scored statistically higher than males on the IRI (t(303) = -5.526; p

Conclusion: A significant relationship existed between subjects' demographics and empathic abilities, and a significant difference was found between the empathic skills levels of students and therapists on the perspective-taking subscale.


Physical Therapy

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