Background: Peer physical examination (PPE) is a teaching and learning strategy utilised in most health profession education programs. Perceptions of participating in PPE have been described in the literature, focusing on areas of the body students are willing, or unwilling, to examine. A small number of questionnaires exist to evaluate these perceptions, however none have described the measurement properties that may allow them to be used longitudinally. The present study undertook a Mokken scale analysis of the Peer Physical Examination Questionnaire (PPEQ) to evaluate its dimensionality and structure when used with Australian osteopathy students.
Methods: Students enrolled in Year 1 of the osteopathy programs at Victoria University (Melbourne, Australia) and Southern Cross University (Lismore, Australia) were invited to complete the PPEQ prior to their first practical skills examination class. R, an open-source statistics program, was used to generate the descriptive statistics and perform a Mokken scale analysis. Mokken scale analysis is a non-parametric item response theory approach that is used to cluster items measuring a latent construct.
Results: Initial analysis suggested the PPEQ did not form a single scale. Further analysis identified three subscales: ‘comfort’, ‘concern’, and ‘professionalism and education’. The properties of each subscale suggested they were unidimensional with variable internal structures. The ‘comfort’ subscale was the strongest of the three identified. All subscales demonstrated acceptable reliability estimation statistics (McDonald’s omega > 0.75) supporting the calculation of a sum score for each subscale.
Conclusion: The subscales identified are consistent with the literature. The ‘comfort’ subscale may be useful to longitudinally evaluate student perceptions of PPE. Further research is required to evaluate changes with PPE and the utility of the questionnaire with other health profession education programs.
Author keywords: Evaluation — Item response theory — Osteopathy — Osteopathic medicine — Internal structure
Author affiliations: BV, SG: Victoria University. College of Health & Biomedicine (Australia / Victoria / Melbourne); BV: Victoria University. Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (Australia / Victoria / Melbourne); SG: Southern Cross University. School of Health & Human Sciences (Australia / New South Wales / Lismore)
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