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Physiother Can. 2012 Summer;64(3):245-54. doi: 10.3138/ptc.2011-13.

Academic Dishonesty among Physical Therapy Students: A Descriptive Study.

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  • 1Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto.


in English, French


To examine academically dishonest behaviours based on physical therapy (PT) students' current practices and educators' prior behaviours as PT students.


A Web-based questionnaire was sent to 174 students and 250 educators from the PT programme at the University of Toronto. The questionnaire gathered data on demographics as well as on the prevalence of, seriousness of, and contributing factors to academic dishonesty (AD).


In all, 52.4% of educators and 44.3% of students responded to the questionnaire over a 6-week data-collection period. Scenarios rated the most serious were the least frequently performed by educators and students. The impact of generation on attitudes and prevalence of AD was not significant. The factors most commonly reported as contributing to AD were school-related pressure, disagreement with evaluation methods, and the perception that "everyone else does it."


This study parallels the findings of similar research conducted in other health care programmes: AD does occur within the PT curriculum. AD was more prevalent in situations associated with helping peers than in those associated with personal gain. The consistency in behaviours reported across generations suggests that some forms of cheating are accepted as the social norm and may be a function of the environment.


attitude; curriculum; education; plagiarism; professional

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