Date of Conferral







Alice Eichholz


Interprofessional education (IPE), a concept that brings students from different health care professions together in the learning process, has been adopted by some physical therapy (PT) schools as an alternative to traditional PT-only curricula. Both approaches have the goal of improving patient outcomes for an increasingly diverse population. There was a void in the research comparing IPE and traditional curricula in PT education. Grounded in the theoretical frameworks of adult and social learning theory, the purpose of this study was to examine differences in students' self-efficacy, cultural competence, and perceptions of the learning environment based on curricular type and prior to their first clinical internship. The nonexperimental, causal-comparative research design was used to test a single research question about differences in the 4 dependent variables based on curriculum format (IPE or traditional) for a balanced, random sample of 218 preclinical students from 6 different PT programs. The results of Hotelling's T2 and post hoc analysis revealed statistically significant, higher self-efficacy scores for students in IPE curriculum than ones in the traditional curriculum. No significant differences were found related to cultural competence and perception of learning environment. Results suggest that future research could examine the relationship between self-efficacy and cultural competence. The positive social change implication for this research was that preclinical PT students' in an IPE curriculum had increased self-efficacy as compared to those in traditional curricula. This information can be used to provide direction for PT programs as they work toward delivering exceptional educational experiences in order to improve patient outcomes and better society.