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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

First Advisor

Nancy Cicirello, MPH, PT

Second Advisor

Ruth Satyanarayan, PsyD, LPT


The need for sexual readjustment counseling for individuals following a spinal cord injury (SCI) is well documented in rehabilitation literature. The role of a physical therapist (PT) in this arena is less clear. This descriptive study examined PTs current involvement, knowledge, and training regarding sexual adjustment of their patients with SCI.

A thirty-item survey was mailed to 184 PTs employed at rehabilitation centers in the states of Indiana, Oregon and Washington. Results demonstrated that sexually related questions are rarely raised in PT-patient interactions and that PTs engage in more informal versus formal participation in sexual discussions. No relationship was found between therapists' age, years of experience, or specific counseling raining with their comfort level in sexual counseling. Responses from currently practicing rehabilitation PTs suggest counseling training be acquired in both PT school and continuing education.


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