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 determine the extent of inappropriate patient sexual behavior (IPSB) and the manner to which physical therapists are dealing with the inappropriate behavior.

Subjects: 330 licensed Florida physical therapists.

Method: Descriptive study, random sample was mailed the Inappropriate Patient Sexual Behavior Questionnaire. It was subdivided into mild, moderate, and severe. Statistical analysis was frequency tabulations and Pearson chi-square.

Results: Nearly 80% of respondents encountered mild IPSB; women were significantly more likely to incur uncomfortable staring and receive flattering or sexual remarks. More than 62% of the sample experienced moderate IPSB. More than 31% incurred severe IPSB. Women were significantly more likely to be fondled, forcefully grabbed, or kissed. Two of the 94 women respondents were subjected to attempted rape. Orthopedic (58%), neurological (43%), and psychiatric (31%) patients were the highest perpetrators of IPSB. An average of 43% of the respondents encountered IPSB in acute hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehabilitation centers. Of the sample who encountered IPSB, 20% incurred negative emotional consequences.

Conclusion: IPSB is occurring in physical therapy in Florida at a high rate. Results may indicate a need for inservices and CEU in IPSB and sexual harassment training in college curriculum.


Physical Therapy

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