Attributes, attitudes, and motivations of personnel involved with sports physical therapy residency training

Edward P. Mulligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Post-professional residency training in sports physical therapy has undergone rapid growth since its inception over 20 years ago with 58 programs currently accredited. Purpose The purpose of this survey was to describe and contrast the demographics, motivations, and selection influences from the perspective of both potential training applicants and program faculty. Study Design Cross-sectional descriptive survey Methods 156 physical therapists identified as stakeholders in sports residency and fellowship training were invited to participate in a 115-item survey. Descriptive measures of central tendencies to describe the data and Mann Whitney Rank Sum tests were used to detect differences between the perspectives of applicants and faculty. Results 50 program faculty and 57 applicants responded to the survey for a 69% response rate. Motivations for post-professional training categorized as extremely important were largely intrinsic behavioral modifiers centering on improved knowledge, skills, and outcomes while satisfying a passion for sports specialty training and enhancing job opportunities in the field. 7 of the 10 highest rated application motivations were rated as significantly more important by applicants than faculty members (p<0.05). The two most highly rated influences for choosing to apply to a specific residency site were the perception for subsequent job opportunities and perceived relationship and qualifications with the residency director and staff. The importance of job opportunities in sports PT was rated much higher by the applicant than the faculty (p=0.003). Conclusions While the motivations for residency training may be slightly different between groups the importance of information acquisition and methods for residency selection criteria seem more congruent. Residency faculty may underestimate the importance of some of the most important motivations that prompt interest in residency training. Recognition of these factors may alter the presentation and content design of residency curriculums.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1157
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physical Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Fellowship
  • Motivations
  • Post-professional training
  • Residency
  • Sports physical therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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