Work Type



Fall 2021

Faculty Advisor

Robert Boyles, PT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT




Resiliency, Anxiety and Depression Amongst DPT Students–A Survey of Three Cohorts During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Michaela Corbitt, SPT; Amber Odo, SPT

Mentor: Robert Boyles, PT, DSc

Background: Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs are challenging due to the academic rigor, fast-paced learning environment, tuition cost, and feelings of inadequacy. Resiliency involves the ability to cope with stressors presented in daily life. Higher levels of resiliency has been associated with lower levels of depression, stress, and anxiety. This negative correlation may be key for preventing burnout, increasing life satisfaction, and prolonging careers for DPT graduates.

Purpose: To assess resiliency, anxiety and depression across three DPT cohorts at a single time point during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Methods: This study utilized an anonymous, voluntary online survey on demographics, Connor Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC 25) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Means and standard deviations (SD) were performed on demographic information, HADS, and CD-RISC scores. One-way ANOVAs compared between cohorts for scores of HADS Anxiety, HADS Depression, and CD RISC. T-test compared CD-RISC means of study population with the general population.

Results: 56.5% students responded to the survey; 7% were positive for depression symptoms and 51% were either borderline or positive for symptoms of anxiety. There were no significant score differences between cohorts for depression, anxiety, or resiliency (p=0.8, p=0.15, p= 0.99). There was a statistically significant difference in mean resilience scores between DPT students and the general US population (p=0.001).

Conclusion: DPT students appear to be less resilient than the general population, which is a concern, as resilience may be a buffer against work-place stress and burnout.


University of Puget Sound