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Views of chartered physiotherapists on the psychological content of their practice: a preliminary study in the United Kingdom
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  1. B Hemmings,
  2. L Povey
  1. Division of Sports Studies, University College Northampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Hemmings, Division of Sport Sciences, University College Northampton, Boughton Green Road, Northampton NN2 7AL, UK;
 brian.hemmings{at}northampton.ac.uk

Abstract

Background: Although research into the psychological aspects of sports injury is increasing and psychological interventions have been identified as important in the rehabilitation process, few studies have focused on how sports medicine practitioners deal with psychological problems.

Objective: To investigate the perceptions of English chartered physiotherapists on the psychological content of their practice.

Methods: The Physiotherapist and Sport Psychology Questionnaire (PSPQ) was adapted slightly from the Athletic Trainer and Sport Psychology Questionnaire and used in this study. A survey package comprising a PSPQ, introductory letter, and self addressed envelope was mailed to 179 chartered physiotherapists registered in the England Eastern Region Sports Medicine Directory.

Results: In total, 90 (50% response rate) questionnaires were returned. The sample consisted of 67 women and 23 men with a mean (SD) age of 40.1 (5.4) years and 9.2 (3.1) years of experience as chartered physiotherapists. Descriptive statistical and qualitative analysis showed that physiotherapists believed athletes were often psychologically affected by injury. The physiotherapists also reported often using psychological techniques when treating injured athletes, but few reported having access to a sport psychologist for referral.

Conclusions: This research indicates that future physiotherapy education may need more emphasis on the psychological aspect of injury, and seek to increase knowledge on the potential of using psychological interventions within a physiotherapy rehabilitation programme. Furthermore, some form of referral network should be established between chartered physiotherapists and sport psychologists.

  • physiotherapy
  • psychology
  • injury
  • ATSPQ, Athletic Trainer and Sport Psychology Questionnaire
  • PSPQ, Physiotherapist and Sport Psychology Questionnaire

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