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The Incidence of Anxiety and Depression in Physical Therapy Students: III. Methods

15 min read

Clare Lewis, Psy.D.


Approximately 300 physical therapy students from accredited physical therapy programs throughout the United States were recruited to participate in this study.  This number is similar to the numbers of students recruited in similar studies found in the literature.  Students were selected randomly from all physical therapy programs in the United States by dividing the country geographically into the following regions: Northwest, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast.  From each region, two schools were randomly selected.  Each school was notified and asked to participate.  All schools selected agreed to participate, so no alternative schools needed to be selected.

Outcome Measures

The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) is a self-report measurement tool of depression and anxiety symptoms.  It has been studied and shown to be a reliable instrument for screening clinically significant anxiety and depression.  Zigmond and Snaith (1983) created the HADS to specifically assess mood for use in non-psychiatric hospital departments.   The initial research was conducted in general medical outpatient clinics on over 100 adults of both genders between the ages of 16 and 65 who were being treated for a variety of complaints and illnesses.  The scale was also given to clinical, secretarial and technical staff in the hospital.  Data on 50 non-psychiatric patients were examined for internal consistency using Spearman correlation coefficient.  For anxiety items, correlations ranged from + 0.76 to + 0.41 with a p< 0.01.  For the depression scale, the correlations ranged from +0.60 to –0.30 with a p<0.02.

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