Physiotherapists’ perceptions of their role in treating and managing people with depression and anxiety disorders: A systematic review

Chelsea Ribeiro*, Louisa Tsang, Brandon Lin, Kevin Kemp-Smith, Jennifer Phillips, James Furness

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Despite the prevalence of mental health disorders rising worldwide, physio-therapists’ perceptions of their role and ability to holistically treat people with anxiety and depression remain unclear. 

Purpose: This research aimed to understand the physiotherapists’ perception of their role in treating and managing people with anxiety and depression while revealing barriers and facilitators in practice. 

Methods: PubMed, PsycInfo, CINAHL, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were searched systematically for mixed-method, quantitative, or qualitative designs. Using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Methodology for Systematic Reviews, data was extracted, critically appraised, assigned quality grades, and synthesized through meta-aggregation. 

Results: A total of 2991 records were initially sourced, with eleven studies included in the systematic review. The studies were published worldwide between 2016 and 2021, with the majority (n = 8) published in 2020–2021. Participating physiotherapists most frequently had a Bachelor’s degree (35.7–62.6%), followed by a Master’s degree (28.4–37.4%). Meta-aggregation revealed the synthesized finding that physiotherapists perceived their role to include treating people with anxiety and depression despite feeling underprepared. Physiotherapists perceive many barriers and facilitators, such as education, when treating people with anxiety and depression. 

Conclusion: Physiotherapists have positive perceptions toward anxiety and depression, despite feeling underprepared in their ability to implement psychosocial strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Sep 2022

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