Patient’s Perception of Autonomy Support and Shared Decision Making in Physical Therapy


Background: Shared Decision Making (SDM) is primarily intended to enhance patient autonomy. To date, the relationship between patients’ perceived levels of involvement and autonomy support has never been investigated in the field of physical therapy. Based on the recently reported extremely low level of observed SDM in physical therapy, similarly poor patient perceptions are expected. Objective: The main objectives of this study were to examine patients’ perceptions of SDM and autonomy support in physical therapy and to explore the relationship between both. Design: Patient survey after real consultations in physical therapy. Methods: Patients completed the Dyadic Observing Patient Involvement (Dyadic OPTION) instrument and the Health Care Climate Questionnaire (HCCQ) to examine patients’ perceived levels of SDM and autonomy support, respectively. Multilevel analyses were applied to determine the relationship between both perceptions. Results: Two hundred and twenty-nine patients, who were recruited by 13 physical therapists, agreed to participate. The median Dyadic OPTION score was 72.9 out of a total possible score of 100. The median HCCQ score was 94.3 out of a total possible score of 100. Patients’ experienced level of SDM (b = 0.14; p < 0.001) and patients’ age (b = 0.12; p = 0.001) contributed to patients’ perceived autonomy support. None of the physical therapist characteristics were related to patients’ perceived autonomy support. Limitations: Only 13 out of 125 therapists who were personally contacted agreed to participate. Conclusion: Using patients’ perceptions, we found that a relationship between SDM and autonomy support existed. In contrast to observational studies, our study also demonstrated that the participating physical therapists individually tailored patient support by adapting their implementation of SDM to each patient.

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Devisch, I. , Dierckx, K. , Vandevelde, D. , Vriendt, P. and Deveugele, M. (2015) Patient’s Perception of Autonomy Support and Shared Decision Making in Physical Therapy. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5, 387-399. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2015.59043.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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