Physiotherapy students’ disc behaviour styles can be used to predict the likelihood of success in clinical placements

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Aim: To explore the behaviour styles of physiotherapy students and investigate if there is a relationship between students’ unique behaviour patterns and their clinical placement grades.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Method: This cross-sectional study with 132 (F=78, M=54) physiotherapy students was conducted across two Australian university settings. Measures included Everything DiSC Workplace profile, Assessment of Physiotherapy Practice (APP).

Results: Physiotherapy students (n=133) profiled: Dominance (D) style n=20 (15%), Influence (I) style n=33 (25%), Steadiness (S) style n=36 (27%) and Conscientiousness (C) n=44 (33%). Students with individual DiSC styles of i and Conscientiousness / Steadiness (CS) were in the lowest APP quartile for clinical grades and the D style was in the highest quartile. Binary logistic regressions revealed students with an i DiSC style had 3.96 times higher odds, and students with a CS DiSC style had 4.34 times higher odds, of failing a clinical placement. When explored independently, the same trend remained for Master’s level students. Bachelor’s level students with DiSC styles of S and C had failed placements, however these styles were not significantly associated with failure (DiSC S Style: Exp(B) 1.667, p=0.713 (CI: 0.109 to 25.433), DiSC C Style: Exp(B) 11.00, p=0.097 (CI: 0.646 to 187.166)).
Conclusion: Physiotherapy students with DiSC styles i and CS appear to be more likely to fail physiotherapy clinical placements. Further research with larger undergraduate samples is required to establish if relations differ for undergraduate versus postgraduate students.

Key Practice Point: Physiotherapy students’ DiSC styles can predict the likelihood of success in clinical placement.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
EventTRANSFORM 2019 Physiotherapy Conference - Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 17 Oct 201919 Oct 2019 (Book of Abstracts)


ConferenceTRANSFORM 2019 Physiotherapy Conference
Abbreviated titleAPA
Internet address


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