Purpose: The focus of this research is to understand the relationship between students' primary DISC behavioral styles (dominant, influencing, steadiness, compliance) and their perception of ideal clinical instructor behaviors. A review of the literature supports the connection between the behaviors of the clinical instructor (CI) and the success of the allied health professional student (AHPS). Additionally, a body of research supports the connection between DISC behavioral styles and student success. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between AHPS primary DISC behavioral styles and their perception of the ideal CI behaviors. Methods: A total number of n=90 participants completed the Allied Health Professional Preceptor Assessment exploring ideal CI behaviors and the DISC assessment across the three disciplines of athletic training (14), exercises science (7), and physical therapy (69). Results: S (steadiness) scores had the highest frequency (53.3%), followed by I (influencing) (22.2%), then C (compliance) (13.3.7%), and lastly, D (dominant) (11.1%). Using regression modeling, the "D" model (p=0.01) and the "S" model (pConclusion:This study provides preliminary evidence for the DISC behavioral assessment as a tool to inform CIs in ways to engage AHPS effectively. The findings of this study provide applicable techniques for CIs mentoring students with "D," "S," and "C" primary behavioral styles. Further research is warranted to determine engagement strategies for "I" primary behavioral styles. By leveraging these findings, clinical education programs can provide CIs with simple behavioral techniques to best engage students based on the student's primary behavioral style.

Author Bio(s)

Tonya Y Miller PT, DPT, Ph.D. is the Academic Program Lead for the Doctor of Physical Therapy at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Harrisburg, PA. She is also a licensed physical therapist in the state of Pennsylvania.

Robert Creath, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Director of the Lewis Human Performance Lab in the Exercise Science Program at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA.

Eva Frank, Ph.D., LAT, ATC, is an Assistant Professor in the Athletic Training Program at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA.

Lori Portzer, Ph.D. ACSM-EP, is an Assistant Profesor in the Exercise Program at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA.

Jennifer Price, PT, DPT is an Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education in the Physical Therapy Program at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA. She is a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy and is a licensed physical therapist in the state of PA.


The authors would like to thank TTI Success Insights for donating a portion of the Talent Insight Assessment tools.




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