Objective: To assess the feasibility of collecting data from multiple institutions and to make a preliminary comparison of the attitudes toward interdisciplinary collaboration of complementary and alternative health professions and mainstream health professions students.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 5 health professions training institutions, 4 of which train multiple health professions. Students were approximately midway in their course of training. Attitudes were assessed by means of the 18-item Interdisciplinary Education Perception Scale (IEPS), which measures 4 attitudinal factors (competence and autonomy, perception of need for and actual cooperation, and understanding others’ value) using a 6-point Likert scale, with a total score representing the sum of the factor scores. The survey was administered in class in 4 institutions and electronically in one. An analysis of variance (ANOVA), with a post-hoc Scheffe test for multiple comparisons, was used to compare mean total IEPS scores for students in each profession.
Results: The study was completed in 2012 with 277 students from the following professions: acupuncture/Oriental medicine, chiropractic, massage, naturopathic medicine, and physical therapy. The response rate for in-class administration was 78% but 17% for online administration. Physical therapy students had statistically significantly higher total scores than all the CAM professions except massage therapy.
Conclusion: The results suggest that further exploration of possible differences in attitude between CAM and convention health professions may be warranted, but will require significant efforts to make it feasible.
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