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

In addition to the stress physical therapy students endure daily with required rigorous study, they currently face the additional stress of possibly being unemployed when they graduate. With the advent of managed care and health maintenance organizations (HMO’s), the medical community has experienced tremendous changes in the environment and administration of health care. The amount of care a patient is allowed to receive reflects a major shift in health care. The predominance of managed health care has resulted in fewer allowable treatment visits, and there is less available work overall for the physician and physical therapist. In the history of the physical therapy profession, unemployment has never been an issue, that is, until the advent of managed care.  Students in professional physical therapy programs have grown increasingly aware that they may graduate and not be able to find full-time work. With outstanding student loans that they will begin to repay shortly after they graduate, this fact is discouraging and demoralizing for these students.

With the effective medications now available, along with many other treatments that have been shown to be effective in treating depression and anxiety (Preston, Oneal & Talaga, 2001), subsequent anxious and depressive episodes might be preventable entirely if the condition is identified early enough. With prevention, unnecessary suffering and the high costs associated with anxiety and major depression along with the many other repercussions associated with these debilitating conditions may be reduced or eliminated.


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About the Author

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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