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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Patricia H Bridges; pbridge@emory.edu; Division of Physical Therapy Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Authors' contributions: PHB conceived the study, participated in the design of the study, participated in the development of the instrument, coordinated the study, and drafted the manuscript.

LLB participated in the design of the study and reviewed the manuscript.

TV participated in the design of the study, participated in the development of the instrument and performed the statistical analysis.

Acknowledgments: University of Georgia, Ronald Cervero PhD, Wendy Rouna PhD, Karen Watkins PhD, and Mark Ebell MD.

The authors wish to express appreciation to the following authors who graciously allowed the inclusion of their instruments in the survey; Fisher M, King J, Tague G. Development of a self-directed learning readiness scale for nurse education. Nurse Education Today 2001,21: 516–525; Green LA, Gorenflo DW, Wyszewianski L. Psychometric Instrument for Selecting Interventions to Change Physician Practice Patterns; 2001; Watkins KE, Marsick VJ: Dimensions of the Learning Organization 1998.

Disclosures: The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.


The propensity to adopt evidence-based practice among physical therapists


Journal Title:

BMC Health Services Research


Volume 7, Number 103


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Background Many authors, as well as the American Physical Therapy Association, advocate that physical therapists adopt practice patterns based on research evidence, known as evidence-based practice (EBP). At the same time, physical therapists should be capable of integrating EBP within the day-to-day practice of physical therapy. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which personal characteristics and the characteristics of the social system in the workplace influence the propensity of physical therapists to adopt EBP. Methods The study used a 69 item mailed self-completion questionnaire. The questionnaire had four major sections. The first three sections were each drawn from a different theoretical framework and from different authors' work. The instrument was developed to capture the propensity of physical therapists to adopt EBP, characteristics of the social system in the workplace of physical therapists, personal characteristics of physical therapists, and selected demographic variables of physical therapists. The eligible population consisted of 3,897 physical therapists licensed by the state of Georgia in the United States of America. A random sample of 1320 potential participants was drawn. Results 939 questionnaires were returned for a response rate of 73%. 831 of the participants' questionnaires were useable and became the basis for the study. There was a moderate association between desire for learning (r = .36, r2 = .13), highest degree held (r = .29, r2 = .08), practicality (r = .27, r2 = .07) and nonconformity (r = .24, r2 = .06) and the propensity to adopt EBP. A negative correlation was found between age, years licensed and percentage of time in direct patient care. The findings demonstrated that the best three variables for predicting the propensity to adopt EBP in physical therapy were: desire for learning, highest degree held, and practicality. Conclusion The study confirms there is no single factor to facilitate research evidence into day-to-day practice. Multiple practice change strategies will be needed to facilitate change in practice.

Copyright information:

© 2007 Bridges et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/).

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