Perceptions of Cultural Competency in Doctor of Physical Therapy Students: A Cross-Sectional Study

Purpose/Hypothesis : The primary purpose of this study was to determine the overall perceived level of cultural competency in Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students from a midwestern university during their 1st, 2nd and 3rd year curriculum. The secondary purpose was to further determine the perceived level of cultural competency in the categories of knowledge, attitude, skill and behavior.Number of Subjects : Ninety six subjects were recruited. However, 94 surveys were analyzed due to lack of informed consent and demographic page in two subjects.Materials/Methods : This descriptive study design used a 65 question Likert scale survey to determine DPT student perception of cultural competence. The survey was created by Gozu et al in 2007 with 15 additional questions added by the research team. Questions were categorized into four subject areas: knowledge (8), attitude (36), skill (16) and behavior (5). Following institutional review board approval, a convenience sample of 96 subjects was utilized at one DPT program. Inclusion criteria were met if the subject was a current 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year DPT student. Upon completion of informed consent, students voluntarily completed the survey. All data was kept confidential. Descriptive statistics were calculated and analyzed using SPSS version 19.0.Results : The data demonstrated no statistical significance in either linear regression or multiple regression (p<.05). However, a one-way ANOVA revealed three statistical significant findings. In overall cultural competency there was a significant difference between students in the 1st and 2nd years of the program (p = .05). In the skills category statistical significance was found between 1st and 2nd years (p = .029) and between 2nd and 3rd years (p = .006). Finally, in the knowledge category significance was found between both 1st and 2nd years (p = .042) and between the 2nd and 3rd years (p = .042) There was no statistical difference between groups in attitude or behavior.Conclusions : Post-hoc analysis indicated a significant decrease in overall cultural competency between 1st and 2nd year students. The topic areas of knowledge and skill demonstrated statistical significance with a decrease from 1st to 2nd year students, and an increase between 2nd and 3rd year students. General trends of increasing cultural competency were shown with increasing age. Limitations of the study included small sample size, lack of diversity among participants (98.9% heterosexual, 97.9% caucasian), students surveyed from only one DPT program and the survey tool has not been validated or tested for reliability in this population.Clinical Relevance : This study suggests that DPT student perceived cultural competency in the areas of knowledge and skill decrease from the first to the second year of the curriculum but begin to increase from the second to the third year. It also suggests there is a trend of increasing cultural competency with increasing age. Further research is needed with larger and more diverse groups of students.

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 1726115
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Deb Doherty, Sara Maher, Catherine Ivanikiw, Matthew Hales, Troy Lebiecki, Patricia Wren
  • Keywords: cultural competency|students|physical therapy

BACK to Abstract Results