Date of Award

Summer 8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Chair

Dr. Lilian Hill

Committee Chair Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 2

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Dr. Thomas Lipscomb

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Dr. Yen To

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships among self-direction in learning, health-promoting behaviors, and physical therapy support for autonomy in older adults. Self-direction in learning was measured by the Oddi Continuing Learning Inventory, participation in health promoting behaviors was measured by the Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile II, and physical therapy support for autonomy was measured by the Health Care Climate Questionnaire. In addition, a questionnaire gathering demographic information about the participant's age, educational level, marital status, and gender was administered.

The 20 participants are community-dwelling older adults who participated in out-patient physical therapy for four weeks. The participants completed the Oddi Continuing Learning Inventory, the Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile II, the Health Care Climate Questionnaire, as well as a demographic questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, paired t-tests, one-way analysis of variance, and Pearson coefficient correlations were used to analyze the data.

The findings in this study indicated a statistically significant relationship between an older adult's self-direction in learning and participation in health-promoting behaviors. The findings also indicate that there is no statistically significant relationship between the participant's self-direction in learning and physical therapy support for autonomy, nor is there a statistically significant relationship between the participant's health promoting behaviors and physical therapy support for autonomy. Additional findings indicate there is a relationship between educational level and participation in health promoting behaviors and educational level and self-direction in learning. A statistically significant relationship was found between gender and physical therapy support for autonomy, with females reporting higher scores on the healthcare climate questionnaire.

These findings suggest that it would be important for a physical therapist to gather information related to a patient's degree of self-direction in learning and educational level as both are related to participation in health-promoting behaviors. Educational approaches can be adapted by the physical therapist to better meet the needs and motivations of this patient population. Further research is needed into other factors that may contribute to a physical therapist’s ability to influence an older adult’s self- direction in learning and health promoting behaviors.

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