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Funct Neurol. 2005 Jul-Sep;20(3):121-6.

The physical therapist-patient relationship. Does physical therapist' occupational stress affect patients' quality of life?

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IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana, Roma, Tosinvest Sanità S.p.A, Italy.


Our pilot study investigated the patient-physical therapist relationship. Physical therapists see and are actively involved in the consequences of and the improvements in patients' health status. This close involvement, together with their own expectations, renders physical therapists vulnerable to different kinds of stress. The aim of this study was to investigate whether physical therapists' occupational stress is related to patients' perceived quality of life. Eight patient-physical therapist pairs were enrolled. The following measures were administered to the participants: Occupational Stress Indicator (OSI); World Health Organization Quality of Life-Brief (WHOQoL-Brief); Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Our study demonstrated the existence of different kinds of relationship between physical therapists' occupational stress (measured by OSI) and patients' perceived quality of life (measured by WHOQoL-Brief). It was found that patients' quality of life and therefore outcome are affected by the possible presence of physical therapists' occupational stress. Our study identified traits (both personal and professional) in physical therapists that positively affect patients' perceived quality of life.

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