The self-reported factors that influence Australian physiotherapists’ choice to promote non-treatment physical activity to patients with musculoskeletal conditions

Published:August 18, 2018DOI:



      To determine the factors that influence physiotherapists’ choice to promote non-treatment physical activity to patients with musculoskeletal conditions.


      Cross sectional survey.


      A national, online self report survey was targeted at Australian registered physiotherapists primarily treating patients with musculoskeletal conditions in private practice and outpatient settings. Likert scale questions were used to measure the factors influencing non-treatment physical activity promotion by physiotherapists.


      Two hundred and sixteen full responses were received. Most (56.6%) respondents irregularly promoted non-treatment physical activity, whereas 43.4% always promoted non-treatment physical activity. Promotion of non-treatment physical activity was bivariately associated with respondents’ own physical activity level (x2[2] = 7.670, p = 0.022) and exercise science education (x2[1] = 4.613, p = 0.032). Multivariable analysis identified that Knowledge (knowing how to promote non-treatment physical activity) (OR = 1.60, 95%CI 1.026–2.502), Goals (other patient problems are more important) (OR = 0.62, 95%CI 0.424–0.897) and Innovation (compatibility of non-treatment physical activity promotion with the clinical environment) (OR = 1.75, 95%CI 1.027–2.985) were significantly and independently associated with non-treatment physical activity promotion.


      The majority of surveyed Australian physiotherapists irregularly promoted non-treatment physical activity. Lack of knowledge of how to promote non-treatment physical activity, prioritising other patient problems before non-treatment physical activity promotion and using promotion methods that are not compatible with current practice might reduce non-treatment physical activity promotion frequency by physiotherapists.


      DIBQ (Determinants of implementation behaviour questionnaire), NTPA (Non-treatment physical activity), PA (Physical activity), TDF (Theoretical domains framework)


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