American Physican Therapy Combined Sections Meeting

Document Type

Conference Proceeding





Inappropriate sexual behavior is defined as a “verbal or physical act of an explicit, or perceived, sexual nature, which is unacceptable within the social context in which it is carried out.” In a survey of U.S. PTs, 86% of the respondents reported experiencing at least one type of IPSB. PT education programs are required to teach concepts of professional duty, communication skills, and cultural competency, however, management techniques of IPSB in the clinic are not uniformly taught in schools. The use of active learning methods such as role play simulation and small group discussion has been successful with other healthcare professionals allowing students to practice behaviors in a safe place. The aim of this study was to use flipped and active learning methods to effectively teach DPT students assertive approaches to managing IPSB. This study describes the effects on students’ knowledge and attitudes pre- and post-instruction.


Forty-five first-year DPT students participated as part of a course on psychosocial issues.


Faculty developed eight case scenarios for the in-class discussion and role play. Students completed pre- and post-class paper surveys about their beliefs and knowledge on IPSB. The flipped model involved reading an assigned article on the topic prior to the class, brief instruction by faculty, interactive small-group discussion, role play, and a large group debrief in class.


Forty-three students reported reading the preparatory article prior to class. Significant improvements were observed in students’ perceptions including: 1) the ability to address sexuality with young patients (p


The students responded well to the learning experience and believed they improved their ability to address IPSB. There was an interaction between males and females on the self-efficacy question. Females perceived their abilities to be lower than the males initially, but they scored higher post-instruction. While both groups’ perceptions changed, we observed that the females gained more from the experience. We recommend using the flipped classroom model and simulation methods to instruct DPT students in assertive behaviors.


PT’s may encounter IPSB in the clinic. Practicing strategies for these situations could lead to more appropriate therapist-patient interactions and fewer adverse effects.


UNMC Division of Physical Therapy Education