Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Kinesiology and Recreation

First Advisor

Scott Pierce


Physical therapists (PTs) are professionally required to undertake a comprehensive examination of their patients and provide consultation within their expertise, yet also have the task to motivate patients to adhere to therapy. Self-determined motivation, as a positive predictor of treatment adherence, can be facilitated by promoting patient autonomy, competence and relatedness. However, a greater understanding is needed of the context specific strategies PT’s can use to facilitate motivation. The purpose of this study is to explore physical therapists’ (PT)s perceptions of the factors affecting patient motivation, strategies and methods to facilitate adherence, and strategies used to satisfy patients basic needs to facilitate intrinsic motivation. Physical therapists from around Illinois were contacted through purposive and convenience sampling to participate in semi-structured interviews pertaining to their perceptions of patient adherence and motivation throughout physical therapy. Using a critical realist philosophical perspective, the semi-structured interviews followed an interview guide focused on physical therapists' experiences with patient motivation and adherence. Participants included thirteen physical therapists (eight Female and five Male) with an average of 5.7 years experiences in the profession. After the completion of the interviews, a theoretical thematic analysis was conducted to identify themes related to self-determination theory, the basic needs theory and the importance of autonomy, competence, and relatedness to patient motivation. Preliminary findings show physical therapists perceive patient buy-in (autonomy), building rapport with patients (relatedness), and self-recognition of progress (competence) help patients become more adherent to physical therapy. Physical therapists believe they play a role in facilitating patient adherence and motivation, but the role is dependent on the patient's mindset, knowledge, and expectations of physical therapy. Findings will be presented to highlight the unique insights gained from the study along with practical recommendations for PT’s practices and strategies to motivate patients.


Imported from ProQuest Markovski_ilstu_0092N_11689.pdf


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