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: To examine the effects of temperament on burnout among physical therapists and to identify those traits that predispose physical therapists to burnout.

Subjects: 64 Florida licensed physical therapists.

Methods: The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the Pleasure-Arousal-Dominance (PAD) Temperament Model were mailed directly to each participant. Analysis of Variance, crosstabs, regression analysis and Pearsons correlated were utilized.

Results: Regression analysis revealed that Trait Arousal and Trait Dominance were statistically significant in predicting emotional exhaustion; a key component of burnout. Correlation analysis revealed a positive relationship between Trait Arousal and Emotional Exhaustion and a negative relationship between Trait Dominance and Emotional Exhaustion. This suggests that an external locus of control and an inability to adapt to changing, varied and complex events in the environment predispose physical therapists to burnout.

Conclusion: The concept of burnout has been used mostly as a descriptive term that provides little insight into its underlying causes. This study has enhanced understanding of burnout as it exists among physical therapists by construing it to have trait like properties. The potentially mediating effects of low levels of arousal and internal locus of control provide us with a basis for possible intervention strategies to propose where high levels of burnout are found to exist.


Physical Therapy

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