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, 77 (7), 739-44

Patient Sexual Behaviors and Sexual Harassment: A National Survey of Physical Therapists

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Patient Sexual Behaviors and Sexual Harassment: A National Survey of Physical Therapists

R A deMayo. Phys Ther.

Abstract

Background and purpose: The objective of this study was to describe the extent to which physical therapists have experienced patient sexual behaviors and sexual harassment.

Subjects and methods: A questionnaire was mailed to 750 individuals selected from a computer-generated, randomized sample provided by the American Physical Therapy Association of members who identified themselves as being licensed physical therapists and currently engaged in clinical practice. Completed questionnaires were returned by 48.6% of the eligible sample.

Results: Eight-six percent of the respondents reported having experienced some form of patient sexual behavior in the course of practice. The vast majority of these incidents were not rated as harassment. Sixty-three percent of the respondents, however, reported at least one incident of sexual harassment. Despite those high rates, less than one third of the respondents had received any training in how to handle sexual harassment.

Conclusion and discussion: The results support the findings of previous investigators who concluded that patient sexual behavior and sexual harassment is an important issue that needs to addressed in training programs.

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