Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Health Sciences


Rehabilitation Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Dana M. Howell

Second Advisor

Dr. Timothy L. Uhl


Adherence is considered a prerequisite for the success of exercise programs for musculoskeletal disorders. The negative effects of non-adherence to exercise recommendations impact the cost of care, and also treatment effectiveness, treatment duration, the therapeutic relationship, waiting times, the efficiency of personnel and use of equipment. Adherence to therapeutic exercise intervention is a multifaceted problem.

The World Health Organization (WHO) established the multidimensional adherence model (MAM). The MAM describes five interactive dimensions (socioeconomic, healthcare team and system, condition-related, therapy-related, and patient-related factors) that have an effect on patient adherence.

The first purpose of this dissertation was to explore the MAM dimension of condition-related factors to determine the Quick Disabilities of the Arm Shoulder and Hand (QDASH) minimal clinical important difference (MCID) for three distal upper extremity conditions. The second purpose was to explore the MAM dimension of personal factors to learn from individuals who expressed incongruence between their QDASH and GROC scores; how they described their perceived change in therapy. The third purpose was to explore the MAM dimension of therapy-related factors to examine the effect of patient-therapist collaborative goal setting on patient adherence to treatment and QDASH outcomes.

Results demonstrated in the first study that diagnosis specific MCID’s differed from the global MCID using multiple diagnoses. In the second study results demonstrated that patients expect to have a dedicated therapist who they can trust to work collaboratively with them to establish goals and spend time with them to achieve these goals. In the third study, our first hypothesis was not supported for all three measures of adherence. The median for home exercise program diary adherence was found to trend towards significance by 8.7 percent favoring the experimental group Mann-Whitney U (p < .100). Our second hypothesis was not supported. The experimental group receiving collaborative goal setting intervention had similar QDASH mean change scores 45.9±27.6 compared to the control group 46.1±23.8, Mann-Whitney U (p < .859).