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Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

First Advisor

Alta Hansen, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

Nancy Cicirello, MPH, PT


This study developed an observational method of measuring lifting behavior, which was used to evaluate educational assistants in the public school system as they lifted students with disabilities during a normal work day. A survey was sued to identify the type of lifting instruction educational assistants had received, and to determine factors related to incorrect lifting behavior. Fifteen of the twenty subjects (75%) who participated in this study received lifting instruction from a physical therapist. It was found that very few (10%) of the sampled educational assistants consistently lifted students as they had been taught at physical therapy in-services. More studies are needed to determine if a relationship exists between physical therapy in-service and lifting behavior in this setting. This observational method could be used to examine the lifting behavior of a larger subject group, and could be adapted to study other occupations.


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