Physiotherapists’ views, perceived knowledge, and reported use of psychosocial strategies in practice

Christina Driver, Geoff P. Lovell, Florin Oprescu

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Research has addressed the usefulness of psychosocial strategies within physiotherapy, as part of a biopsychosocial model. A lack of current research in Australia concerning the views of physiotherapists, from a range of practice areas, regarding a variety of strategies, suggests the need for broader exploration. Methods: This research employed a cross-sectional survey asking Australian physiotherapists (n = 251) to rate their perceived importance and perceived benefits of psychosocial strategies; perceived positive effects on rehabilitation outcomes and adherence; confidence in applying strategies, and perceived benefits of further training. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Crosstabs with Chi-Squared Tests of Contingencies and Spearman’s Rank-Order Correlations. Results: Physiotherapists reported that having knowledge of such strategies was important and considered them beneficial for practice. Respondents rated highly their perceived knowledge about goal setting and positive reinforcement, both of which were reported as most used in practice. Approximately one quarter of physiotherapists reported using cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. Physiotherapists communicated a lack of confidence to apply psychosocial strategies in their practice, and desired further training. Conclusion: Physiotherapists could benefit from tailored instruction regarding psychosocial strategies at a level appropriate to, and within their scope of practice. This could enhance their practice from a biopsychosocial perspective, subsequently improving outcomes for their patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Early online date14 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Biopsychosocial model
  • goal setting
  • physiotherapy
  • psychosocial strategies
  • rehabilitation


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