Construct validation of a model for professional behavior in physical therapist students

Diane U Jette, Leslie G Portney
Physical Therapy 2003, 83 (5): 432-43

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: For physical therapist educators, professional behavior has been difficult to define. The purpose of this study was to test the construct validity of a model of professional behavior that was previously established through consensus and reported in the literature.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: One hundred eighty-three students from 2 professional programs participated in the study. Using a self-administered questionnaire, students assessed how frequently they performed 152 behaviors on a 7-point Likert scale. Data were analyzed using principal components factor analysis. A Cronbach alpha was used to demonstrate internal consistency of items within each factor. Factor scores were submitted as dependent variables in analyses of variance to examine the differences in abilities according to amount of clinical education completed.

RESULTS: The analysis identified 7 factors that explained 52% of the variance. These factors were labeled Professionalism, Critical Thinking, Professional Development, Communication Management, Personal Balance, Interpersonal Skills, and Working Relationships. Cronbach alphas ranged from.81 to.95. Behaviors increased in frequency in 4 of the 7 areas identified according to the level of students' progress in the educational program.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The 7 factors corresponded fairly well to the 10 generic abilities previously identified. Although some behaviors may increase in frequency over the course of students' educational experience, others may be displayed at admission.

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