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2011 Annual Conference

October 27–30, 2011

The Woodlands Waterway Marriott

2011 Research Poster Abstracts


Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 1:00 PM–2:00 PM CDT
Exhibit Hall
Presenter's Name - Last Name First

Brewer, Jacob F.


Leaders in the physical therapy (PT) profession face the challenge of consistently displaying optimism and resiliency when facing daily adversities while at the same time meeting the expectations of constituents with self-confidence and hope. Therefore the purpose of this study was to examine the relationships and differences among leadership characteristics between several demographic areas including professional association membership, entry-level PT degree, PT experience, gender, age, and primary workplace role or job position.


The survey was accessed by 173 PT leaders; 117 met the inclusion criteria. The sample included PTs within the Midwest District of the Texas Physical Therapy Association (TPTA) as well as alumni from one of the PT programs in Texas. A snowball sampling technique was utilized whereby PT leaders were identified and received the electronic survey with the request to complete and forward it on to other PT leaders whom they deemed might be interested in the topic of leadership.


An 88 item questionnaire, comprised of leadership characteristics and goal achievements identified in the literature, and the Psychological Capital Questionnaire (PCQ) which assessed levels of hope, optimism, resiliency, and self-efficacy was utilized.  Each item was assessed on a 5 or 6 point Likert scale. The questionnaire was distributed as a URL online email link through SurveyMonkey™.  Members of the APTA Health Policy Administration or Education section were excluded because of plans to distribute a similar questionnaire to that population in the future.

Data Analysis

Correlations compared the strengths of the relationships between the leader's personal activities, psychological capital, and character qualities. An analysis of variance compared the overall scores of leadership qualities, goal achievements, and psychological capital to assess differences based on demographics. All statistical analyses were computed using SPSS™ 18.0 with the alpha level set at 0.05.


Demographics results included: Males=40, Females=77; TPTA members=65, nonmembers=52; Staff PT or Clinical Instructor=70, Supervisor or Manager= 32, Director or Vice President= 7, Senior Executive/CEO or Owner=8.  A positive moderate correlation (r=.555) was found between PT leader character qualities and psychological capital. A significant difference was found between members and non-members of the TPTA in goal achievement (F=7.828, p= 0.006) with members having higher mean scores on goal achievement.  Additionally, PTs with lower entry-level degrees, yet more experience in the field, also scored significantly higher on goal achievement (F=3.712 , p= 0.01) as well as on total PCQ (F=13.370, p=0.001). Male PTs scored significantly higher than female PTs (F=4.76, p=0.031) on the “hope” subscale of the PCQ. When self-efficacy was compared by generational cohorts and PT experience, PTs who were older and PTs who had more experience scored higher  (F=2.671, p= 0.036 and F=2.587, p=0.041 respectively).  PTs who spent more time volunteering also scored significantly higher on both optimism (F=3.879, p=0.01) and goal achievement (F= 6.753, p=0.001).  No differences were found in PCQ based on primary workplace or position held as a PT.


Psychological capital comprised of resiliency, hope, optimism, and self-efficacy, is now a widely recognized form of human and social capital important in healthcare leadership. This study demonstrated that members of the TPTA had significantly higher scores on leadership goal achievement. Likewise, goal achievement and self-efficacy increased with age and PT experience. Volunteerism was also significantly related to higher optimism and goal achievement. These differences in leadership qualities suggest the PT profession should continue to promote early participation in leadership roles while emphasizing self-efficacy awareness among younger, less experienced PTs.

Clinical Relevance

The goal of every PT should be to improve not only clinically, but also professionally as a leader in the neuromusculoskeletal arena of movement. Effective PT leaders are needed amidst healthcare. More experienced and aged PTs rated higher in certain essential leadership qualities such as self-efficacy and goal achievement, and are needed now to mentor strong leadership examples of clinical and professional excellence. In addition, leadership which can instill hope is also required during the current tumultuous changes in healthcare. As such, the significantly higher scores of psychological hope among male PT leaders warrants further investigation as there were fewer male participants in this study and males are known to be substantially less in number amidst the PT profession. Finally, encouraging active PT professional association membership as well as volunteering in religious or charity activities may also assist in the development of future PT leaders.


Jacob Brewer, PT, DPT, Ph.D., NCS, Hardin-Simmons University
Cole Cooper, PT, DPT, Hardin-Simmons University
Joseph Dennis, PT, DPT, Hardin-Simmons University
Jonathan Hutton, PT, DPT, Hardin-Simmons University
Janelle K. O'Connell, PT, DPT, Ph.D., ATC, LAT, Hardin-Simmons University