Physiotherapists' Perceptions of the Influence of Their Health Behaviours on Their Advice to Patients

Mariana F Sousa, Fiona Moor

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Background Healthcare professionals (HCPs) lifestyle behaviours can impact their health promotion counselling to patients. However, there is a lack of qualitative studies to understand the physiotherapists' perceptions of the influence of their lifestyle behaviours on their patient's advice. Aim This research aims to explore the physiotherapists' perceptions of the influence of their health behaviours on their counselling of patients. Method This research was a qualitative study based on the interpretivism paradigm. 15 virtual semi-structured interviews were performed with physiotherapists working for a private company in the United Kingdom (UK). Thematic analysis was used to create four themes and ten sub-themes. Results 13 out of 15 participants stated that their lifestyle impacts their counselling, while for the other two, their counselling was based on their knowledge. Some drivers for health promotion included role modelling, having some knowledge concerning certain lifestyle behaviours and understanding their importance in health. Barriers to health promotion included lack of time and knowledge, some confusion if discussing some of these behaviours included in their scope of practice and perception of patients' reactions to certain questions and their relevance to the musculoskeletal (MSK) condition their patients were experiencing. Some strategies proposed to improve their health promotion skills included improvements in communication skills, discussions and sharing of evidence between peers and informative leaflets to distribute to patients. Conclusion In this study, 13 out of 15 participants believed their lifestyle impacts their counselling to patients. Despite this, multiple barriers to health promotion were identified. This study highlights the need for training physiotherapists about certain lifestyle behaviours, including smoking cessation, alcohol misuse and basic nutrition counselling which may improve their health promotion messages, potentially leading to patient behaviour change which ultimately may have a positive public health impact. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2023, Sousa et al.]
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere35396
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Early online date24 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

© Copyright 2023 Sousa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 4.0., which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • lifestyle behaviours
  • physiotherapists’ health
  • physiotherapists’ counselling
  • qualitative study
  • health promotion


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