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Knowledge, beliefs, and influences associated with complementary and alternative medicine among physiotherapy and counselling students

Armson, A., Hodgetts, C., Wright, A., Jacques, A., Ricciardi, T., Bettinelli, G. and Walker, B.ORCID: 0000-0002-8506-6740 (2020) Knowledge, beliefs, and influences associated with complementary and alternative medicine among physiotherapy and counselling students. Physiotherapy Research International, 25 (2). e1825.

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The objective of this study is to determine whether physiotherapy and counselling students, who represent a future generation of two health professions, have differing views about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

In order to determine physiotherapy and counselling students' self‐rated knowledge and beliefs about CAM and the factors which influence that understanding, a modified 10‐item CAM Health Belief Questionnaire was administered across all year groups to physiotherapy students and counselling students at two universities in Perth, Western Australia. The self‐rated paper‐based survey measured knowledge of CAM among physiotherapy and counselling students, evaluation of their beliefs regarding the use of CAM, factors that influence their knowledge and beliefs, and their likelihood of recommending CAM to future patients.

A response rate of 96.8% was achieved, with 387 physiotherapy students and 88 counselling students. Moderately positive beliefs about CAM were confirmed in both groups, with mean scores of 42.8/70 for physiotherapy students and 43.3/70 for counselling students. There were no significant differences between the student groups in overall self‐rated knowledge of CAM. The main factors that influenced the students' responses were personal experience for counselling students and scientific evidence for physiotherapy students. Other factors included university training, attitudes of lecturers, tutors and fellow students, cultural background, and opinions of external practitioners. Counselling students were more likely than physiotherapy students to recommend CAM therapies to their future patients.

The results from this study demonstrate minimal self‐rated knowledge but moderately positive attitudes towards CAM by both physiotherapy and counselling students.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Health Professions
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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