This study was designed to investigate patient compliance to a physical therapy home exercise program for individuals with a sports related, orthopedic injury. Forty individuals receiving treatment at Portland area outpatient physical therapy clinics served as subjects. All subjects completed two questionnaires during their initial therapy appointment, a demographic questionnaire and a modified version of the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) which included nine of the sixteen subscales. At the first follow-up visit, subjects completed an additional questionnaire in which they indicated the degree to which they complied to the exercise program and reasons for noncompliance if applicable. Compliance was defined as exact adherence to an exercise regimen as prescribed by the physical therapist. Noncompliance included the concepts of undercompliance (doing less than prescribed) and overcompliance (doing more than prescribed). The physical therapists treating the patient also completed a questionnaire which assessed their perception of the patient's compliance plus questions on other aspects of treatment. Regression analysis showed that personality factors as described by the l6PF Scale C (affected by feelings versus emotionally stable) and therapist's prediction of compliance were significant predictors of patient compliance at p < .05. Therapist's perception of a positive patient support system was also a significant predictor. Tabulation of the patient compliance rate indicated that noncompliance is a factor in physical therapy exercise treatment regimens with 70% of the subjects reporting noncompliance. Undercompliance accounted for 37.5%, overcompliance for 32.5%. It is unknown if the athletic population studied is unique in compliance behavior patterns. A similar study with a comparison group of individuals with non-sports related orthopedic injuries is suggested to provide information addressing this issue. Physical therapist's awareness of compliance as an issue in treatment and the importance of identification of potential noncompliers is emphasized in order to achieve therapeutic goals. Modification of the therapy approach and treatment program to minimize noncompliant behavior is a future focus in order to maximize recovery from injury.
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