Influence of physical therapists' kinesiophobic beliefs on lifting capacity in healthy adults

Sandra Jorna-Lakke, Remko Soer, Wim Krijnen, Cees van der Schans, Michiel Reneman, Jan Geertzen

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Physical therapists' recommendations to patients to avoid daily physical activity can be influenced by the therapists' kinesiophobic beliefs. Little is known about the amount of influence of a physical therapist's kinesiophobic beliefs on a patient's actual lifting capacity during a lifting test.
The objective of this study was to determine the influence of physical therapists' kinesiophobic beliefs on lifting capacity in healthy people.
A blinded, cluster-randomized cross-sectional study was performed.
The participants (n=256; 105 male, 151 female) were physical therapist students who performed a lifting capacity test. Examiners (n=24) were selected from second-year physical therapist students. Participants in group A (n=124) were tested in the presence of an examiner with high scores on the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia for health care providers (TSK-HC), and those in group B (n=132) were tested in the presence of an examiner with low scores on the TSK-HC. Mixed-model analyses were performed on lifting capacity to test for possible (interacting) effects.
Mean lifting capacity was 32.1 kg (SD=13.6) in group A and 39.6 kg (SD=16.4) in group B. Mixed-model analyses revealed that after controlling for sex, body weight, self-efficacy, and the interaction between the examiners' and participants' kinesiophobic beliefs, the influence of examiners' kinesiophobic beliefs significantly reduced lifting capacity by 14.4 kg in participants with kinesiophobic beliefs and 8.0 kg in those without kinesiophobic beliefs.
Generalizability to physical therapists and patients with pain should be studied.
Physical therapists' kinesiophobic beliefs negatively influence lifting capacity of healthy adults. During everyday clinical practice, physical therapists should be aware of the influence of their kinesiophobic beliefs on patients' functional ability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • physiotherapy
  • kinesiophobic beliefs
  • lifting tests

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