Health care provider's attitudes and beliefs towards chronic low back pain: the development of a questionnaire: The development of a questionnaire

RWJG Ostelo, SGM Stomp-van den Berg, J.W.S. Vlaeyen, P.M.J.C. Wolters, HCW de Vet, Suzanne G.M. Stomp-van den Berg, Henrica C.W. De Vet

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Attitudes and beliefs, or the treatment orientation, of health care providers appear to be important in the management of non-specific chronic low back pain (CLBP). The aims of the current study were two-fold: First of all, the physiotherapists' opinion towards various aspects of the management of CLBP was surveyed. Secondly, in a principal factor analysis, it was investigated whether underlying dimensions could be identified in order to develop the Pain Attitudes and Beliefs Scale for Physiotherapists (PABS_PT). In total, 421 physiotherapists (response rate 62.3%) participated in this study. The results suggested that the majority of physiotherapists hold the opinion that CLBP is not a dangerous condition, that sport should not be discouraged and that patients should not refrain from all physical activity. Moreover physiotherapists seem to hold the opinion that the way patients view their pain influences the progress of symptoms. Finally, physiotherapists seem to hold the opinion that therapy can completely alleviate the functional symptoms and that therapy may have been successful even if pain remains. The principal factor analysis (PAF) yielded an interpretable 2-factor model. Based on highest loading items, factor 1 was labelled 'biomedical orientation', whereas factor 2 was labelled 'behavioural orientation'. The internal consistency (Cronbach's Alpha) of factor 1 was 0.84 and for factor 2, 0.54 explaining 25.2% and 8.2%, respectively, of the total variance. Assessment of the effect of the physiotherapists' characteristics on scores on the different scales was encouraging as results pointed in the directions one would expect. Physiotherapists who attended biopsychosocial education courses had statistically significantly higher scores on the 'behavioural orientation' factor and vice versa. Biomedical specialists scored statistically significantly higher on the 'biomedical orientation' factor. Furthermore, the findings suggested that the PABS_PT discriminates between physiotherapists with a 'behavioural orientation' vs those with a 'biomedical orientation'. To examine the influence of these different treatment orientations with regard to CLBP on patient outcome is a challenge for the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-222
Number of pages9
JournalManual therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003

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