Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Craig Hall


The objective of this dissertation was to provide an initial description of self-presentation in injury rehabilitation (i.e., physiotherapy). To accomplish this, one qualitative and two quantitative studies were conducted. Study 1 determined whether self-presentational concerns were present in this setting. Female (n = 134) and male (n = 54) undergraduate students with a mean age of 20.64 years (SD = 1.99) completed measures of Social Physique Anxiety (SPA; Hart et al., 1989), self-presentational concerns, and preferences for features of the social and physical physiotherapy environment. An examination of the relationships between these variables revealed that self-presentation exists in injury rehabilitation, and is more pronounced for women than men. As their SPA increased, women reported greater preference for attending physiotherapy appointments with other females, wearing clothing that de-emphasizes the physique, and receiving treatment on a curtained bed. As these results were based on hypothetical injuries and scenarios, Study 2 replicated Study 1 with women who were actually injured and were about to start a physiotherapy program (N = 62; Mage = 40.98, SD = 14.17). The results demonstrated relationships between SPA, self-presentation, women’s preferences for the presence of other female patients, and being treated in a private examination room. As this study was underpowered and also measured variables based on situations that were imagined, investigations with women who were in the process of undergoing rehabilitation programs were warranted. Thus, Study 3 involved semi-structured interviews with women (N = 10; Mage= 41.30, SD = 16.86) who scored high in SPA (M = 36.44, SD = 7.78), and were undergoing physiotherapy. The findings revealed general apprehension about other people’s judgements of them, while identifying specific personal attributes that they believed to be a target for negative evaluation. The influence of the social and physical rehabilitation environment on the women’s self-presentational concerns and adherence behaviour were demonstrated. Participants reported practical implications of these findings as they identified potential modifications that could be implemented within physiotherapy settings to help alleviate their self-presentational concerns. Possible future directions were discussed.