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

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

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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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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