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, 73 (11), 762-9; discussion 769-70

Experiences of Student and Practicing Physical Therapists With Inappropriate Patient Sexual Behavior

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Experiences of Student and Practicing Physical Therapists With Inappropriate Patient Sexual Behavior

J McComas et al. Phys Ther.

Abstract

Background and purpose: The objectives of this study were (1) to describe the extent to which practicing physical therapists and physical therapy students have reported experiencing inappropriate patient sexual behavior (IPSB), (2) to document the consequences of IPSB, and (3) to identify the strategies the subjects have used to manage IPSB.

Subjects and methods: A survey questionnaire was sent to 118 physical therapists and 87 physical therapy students. Completed questionnaires were returned by 74.1% of the subjects (over 70% in each group).

Results: The majority of respondents (80.9%) reported having encountered some level of IPSB. Although almost half of the physical therapists and one third of the third- and fourth-year students reported experiencing severe IPSB, including forceful sexual touching and deliberate sexual exposure, only 20% of the respondents perceived that they had been "sexually barassed." Most of the respondents were satisfied with the way in which they handled the IPSB; however, almost 90% considered that in-service and undergraduate education would be desirable.

Conclusion and discussion: It is concluded that this problem should be addressed by further study with a broader sample and by inclusion of these issues in education programs for students and physical therapists.

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