Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Sociology & Anthropology

First Advisor

Fr. Jeremiah Lowney

Second Advisor

Jerome Baggett

Third Advisor

Jacqueline Brehe

Abstract

In the field of physical therapy, many aspects are important in developing and executing a successful plan for improving the health of a patient. The relationship between the physical therapist and patient is among the most important of these aspects. This paper offers a deeper sociological look at the relationship between a physical therapist and patient based on four areas, which seem pertinent to this relationship: (1) understanding the roles of the individuals involved; (2) compliance of the patient to prescribed regimens; (3) motivating the patients; and (4) effective communication. This study offers an analysis of the contribution of these four areas to improving the relationship between a physical therapist and patient. This study is based on data gathered through observations made during volunteer work and a supervised sociological internship within several physical therapy settings and is expanded with in-depth interviews of four physical therapists. The analysis provides a presentation of evidence as to how the relationship between the physical therapist and patient can be enhanced by understanding and applying several sociological concepts and theories.

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