Background: In Australia, about 1 in 3 chiropractors choose not to belong to either of the two professional associations and this is considerably lower compared to other health professional organisations in this country. The reasons for this remain unknown. We sought to explore possible reasons by asking chiropractic students their perceptions of barriers and facilitators to joining a professional association. However, we were unable to identify validated survey instruments that could be used to obtain information about reasons for joining health professional associations.
Aim: Therefore, the objectives of this study were to: 1) develop a survey instrument that captures information about what influences chiropractic students in joining professional association; and 2) identify factors that promote association membership among chiropractic students.
Methods: A literature review was undertaken to identify known determinants of professional association membership and were used to construct a preliminary survey instrument, which comprised 47 items. Six fourth-year chiropractic students assessed the preliminary survey instrument’s content validity. Principal components analysis was used to establish the structure of the scales. Cronbach’s alpha was derived to determine whether all items in each scale tapped a discrete construct. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between the scale scores and having joined a chiropractic professional association.
Results: In March 2019, 348 chiropractic students from Murdoch University (71.0%) responded to a voluntary, anonymous questionnaire. Principal components analysis resulted in the retention of 21 items that strongly loaded onto 6 factors. Internal consistency was found to be adequate. The results of the logistic regression analysis demonstrated that only “development of the profession” was significantly associated with have joined a professional chiropractic association (p = 0.049, OR = 2.22; 95% CI = 1.26–3.40).
Conclusion: Chiropractic organisations can probably most effectively increase membership numbers through raising awareness of their contribution to the development of the profession.
Author keywords: Chiropractic — Professional association — Membership
Author affiliations: College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia
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