Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Interprofessional Health Sciences

First Advisor

Denise Peters

Second Advisor

Nancy Gell


Insufficient levels of physical activity (PA) can lead to an increased risk of poor quality of life, morbidity, and mortality. Therefore, it is essential that healthcare providers, such as physical therapists, implement regular PA promotion and prescriptions. Yet, according to research performed primarily outside of the United States, physical therapists are not providing regular PA promotion and prescriptions. Our ethnographic and mixed-method studies identified that these findings are similar among United States-based physical therapists treating patients 50 years and older. Previous research and our results indicated that a barrier to promoting and prescribing PA is the lack of tools, including a multifactorial assessment tool of PA participation barriers. Therefore, we developed and validated the Inventory of Physical Activity Barriers (IPAB), a 27-item scale examining PA participation barriers. The IPAB provides physical therapists with a structured method of identifying PA participation barriers, an essential step of providing individualized PA interventions. The mixed-method study participants endorsed the IPAB as a potentially appropriate, acceptable, feasible, and adoptable assessment tool of PA participation barriers. Another tool identified to possibly address the PA promotion and prescription barriers is a step-by-step guide for addressing insufficient PA, such as a PA toolkit. The mixed-method study also provided insight into the PA toolkit components that may be beneficial for physical therapists. With the insight gained from these studies, we will finalize the PA toolkit, which we hypothesize will address PA promotion and prescription barriers, such as lack of time, knowledge, and skills. Additional PA promotion and prescription barriers revealed by our data were related to the following factors: personal, patient, professional, work, community, healthcare policies, and COVID-19. Further research is needed to identify solutions that address these barriers.



Number of Pages

196 p.