The Incidence of Anxiety and Depression in Physical Therapy Students. I. Setting the Stage

The Incidence of Anxiety and Depression in Physical Therapy Students. I. Setting the Stage

Clare Lewis, Psy.D.

[Note: This essay and those that follow on this topic are taken from Dr. Clare Lewis’s dissertation: The Incidence of Anxiety and Depression in Physical Therapy Students. The entire dissertation is available as a pdf file which can be accessed by clicking on the “Download” button below.]


The present study examined the incidence of anxiety and depression in physical therapy students across the United States.  Eight schools were randomly chosen representing a cross section of the United States.  Of 334 initial respondents, 211 subjects completed taking the Hospital and Anxiety Scale (HADS) 3 times over the course of one school semester (30% male, 70% female).  Results indicate that physical therapy students in the United States do not have clinical levels of anxiety or depression.  Implications for future research are discussed.

Statement of the Problem

Depression is a major cause of psychological illness in the United States, affecting more than 19 million Americans ( It is estimated that 25% of women and 10% of men will have one or more episodes of clinically significant depression i.e., requiring some form of intervention, during their lifetimes. ( Depression affects not only the life of the person who suffers from the disorder, but also the lives of family and friends and depression ultimately affects society as a whole.  It is estimated that people with depression cost the economy 30 to 44 billion dollars per year (


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About the Author

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Clare LewisClare Lewis graduated from the Professional School of Psychology in 2003 with her doctorate in clinical psychology and in 2005 with her doctorate in organizational psychology. She has been licensed as a clinical psychologist since 2012.  In addition to her psychology degrees, Clare is a licensed physical therapist with an advanced masters in orthopedic manual therapy and an transitional doctorate in physical therapy.  Clare is a certified manual therapist from the Stanley Paris Institute and a fellow of the American Association of Orthopedic and Manual Physical Therapists.  Clare has been a professor in the department of physical therapy at CSU Sacramento since 1996.  She has taught the psychology class and orthopedic class for majors for many years. She practices physical therapy at Remedy Rehab in Sacramento, CA doing orthopedic out-patient manual therapy and volunteers at the suicide hotline for Sacramento County.

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