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Trait and State Anxiety in Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Students

Anderson, Heather Trait and State Anxiety in Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Students. 2022. Radford University, Doctoral Capstone Project. Radford University Scholars' Repository.

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It is well established that graduate healthcare students, including Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students, experience more anxiety when compared to normative populations. Because elevated anxiety levels may impede academic performance, and can have negative long-term health consequences, measuring for its presence and determining underlying factors are essential first steps to mitigating this problem. Objectives: This study examined individual and environmental factors, as considered by the stress-diathesis model, to determine which individual attributes and environmental circumstances most contribute to anxiety in DPT students at Neumann University (NU). The impact of race, gender, length of enrollment, grade point average (GPA), socioeconomic status, having a personal or family history of anxiety, and the practice of utilizing management strategies, on anxiety, measured by the validated State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), was investigated in this study. This study also gathered information about test-taking anxiety and which strategies are most frequently used to manage anxiety within the study population. Methodology: This repeated-measures, quantitative, quasi-experimental study consisted of a sample of convenience comprised of eligible Neuman University (NU) DPT students. Participants initially completed both the state (STAI-S) and trait (STAI-T) subscales of the STAI, and a data collection questionnaire, on a non-test day. Next, participants were randomized into two groups written (W) and practical (P). Finally, they re-took the STAI-S on Blackboard within 30 minutes of either a written or practical examination, depending on their assigned group. Results: Findings for this study include a total of 44 participants. Nine did not complete all sections, including five who did not complete the repeated measures STAI-S. Participant scores on the initial STAI-S and STAI-T were slightly elevated when compared to norms at baseline, with a significant increase in the STAI-S when re-measured within 30 minutes of an exam. There was not a statistically significant difference in the STAI score based on the type of exam, gender, race, year in school, income, parental education level, the number of participant life roles, or having an anxiety management strategy. Significant relationships were found between participants with either a parent/guardian who had anxiety, a personal history of anxiety and, or participants currently experiencing anxiety, and increased anxiety, with participants reporting these conditions having greater STAI scores. Weak inverse relationships were found between both age and the number of hours worked, and STAI-S scores, with older participants and those who worked more hours, having lower STAI scores. The most common anxiety management strategy reported was exercise, followed by talking with a friend or loved one. The most common physical symptom of anxiety reported before test-taking was an increase in heart rate followed by sweating.

Item Type: Doctoral Capstone Project
Additional Information: replace page 1 (title page) on word document with .pdf title page uploaded as a separate file as this one contains committee signatures
Uncontrolled Keywords: Keywords: Doctorate Physical Therapy, anxiety, STAI, test-taking anxiety
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Divisions: Radford University > Waldron College of Health and Human Services > Health Sciences Program
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2023 00:56
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2023 16:52

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