Off-campus Pacific University users: To download campus access theses and dissertations, please log into our proxy server with your PUNet ID and password.

Non-Pacific University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis or dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Theses or dissertations that have a specific embargo period indicated below will not be available to anyone until the date indicated.

Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

First Advisor

Ann Williams, PhD, PT

Second Advisor

David Boersema, PhD


In order to gain information regarding the factors which influence the priorities of physical therapists in making ethical decisions, a survey study of physical therapists and physical therapy students was completed. The participants were 89 clinicians and 28 first year physical therapy students. The first part of the survey consisted of a questionnaire gathering personal data such as social responsibilities, work situation and ethics education and exposure. Participants were also asked to read three ethical dilemmas and rate solutions for these dilemmas categorized as authority-oriented, patient-oriented, patient-authority compromise or avoidance. Differences in these scores were investigated based on personal data. Significant differences on scores were found based on social responsibilities, work situation, ethics exposure and clinical experience. Those participants with more ethics exposure rated patient-oriented solutions higher than students. Participants with greater social responsibilities rated authority-oriented solutions higher. Clinicians seeing "other" types of patients rated patient-oriented solution higher than other therapists. These findings provide information that could be used by educators and administrators to optimize the ability of therapists to make sound ethical decisions.


The digital version of this project is currently unavailable to off-campus users not affiliated with Pacific University; however, it may be accessed on campus or through interlibrary loan (for eligible borrowers) from Pacific University Library. Pacific University Library is a free lender.