Exploratory Factor Analysis of the Professionalism in Physical Therapy: Core Values Self-Assessment
Purpose: The APTA Professionalism in Physical Therapy: Core Values Self-Assessment (CVSA)1 is a widely used measure to help physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapy students determine the frequency they demonstrate seven core values describing what PT practitioners should be doing in daily practice.2-5 The seven core values assessed are accountability, altruism, compassion/caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility.1 Despite the wide use of the instrument, comparatively little validation of the construct validity is available, particularly in samples of practicing PTs. For example, researchers have examined the internal consistency reliability6,7 and test-retest reliability among PT students,8 and at least one finished dissertation2 has examined the factor structure of the CVSA via confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) among students. However, a critical fist step in scale development is to explore the factor structure via exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to determine whether seven factors best account for the intra-item relationships.9 Indeed, investigators have cautioned against trusting CFA results without a prior EFA during scale development,9 and recent criticisms of the CVSA from qualitative analyses note that many of the sample behaviors believed to represent the seven core values overlap.5 Thus, the CVSA may actually have less or more than seven factors, particularly among practicing PTs. The present study proposes to examine the factor structure of the CVSA by following best-practice recommendations for scale validation.9 Methods/Description: After institutional review approval, PTs (maximum N = 6000) in Alabama will be invited to participate in a brief online survey containing the CVSA and demographic information. Specifically, CVSA items will be subjected to an EFA to examine the relative contributions of each possible factor in explaining item variation, as well as whether identified factors correspond with the seven proposed core values depicted by the instrument. Alternative factor structure models, such as testing the possibility that the CVSA is only measuring one general professionalism factor, will be explored. Results/Outcomes: At the time of this writing, e-mail addresses have been purchased and institutional review applications are pending. The researchers fully expect to be able to meet the conference deadline. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Performing an EFA could have important implications for interpretation and scoring of the CVSA. For example, results may indicate a need to re-evaluate the sample behaviors listed under each core value. Indeed, it is not uncommon in EFA results to have factors merge together.