Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Rehabilitation and Movement Science

First Advisor

Otto D. Payton


The purpose of this research was to determine if there was a relationship between physical therapy students' personalities and their preferences in clinical education. Associated problems addressed by the research were to determine if there were differences in personality measures between the physical therapy students as well as differences from one another in how they rank ordered a list of clinical education methods and behaviors.

Thirty-four senior physical therapy students who had completed the academic and clinical requirements of the curriculum rank ordered a list of twenty clinical education methods and behaviors which was compiled from factors cited in the literature. During the same session, they also completed the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientations-Behavior (FIRO-B) Questionnaire.

A master list of the mean rank s of the clinical education preferences was calculated and examined for content. The students seemed to prefer behaviors which were passive and related to communication and security. Non-metric three-dimensional multidimensional scaling procedures were used to examine whether there were clusters of students near any of the clinical education behaviors and to interpret similarities and differences between the clinical education methods and behaviors. Continuums between active and passive behaviors, student or professional behaviors, and needs for security and communication were identified along with some clusters of related clinical behaviors; there were no different clusters of students. Multiple analysis of variance and canonical correlations computed showed no significant relationship between the manner by which the students rank ordered the list of behaviors and their FIRO-B scores.

Profiles for the student group based on their FIRO-B scores in each of the need areas were described and discussed. The group demonstrated moderate to high needs for affection and inclusion and low needs in control. Describing the entire group based on the mean scores was potentially misleading as there was much variability between students except in the area of control. The implications of the personality profiles was discussed related to stability and normative scores, the admissions process, and professional development.


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