Comparing physical therapy students' attitudes and beliefs regarding chronic low back pain and knee osteoarthritis: an international multi-institutional comparison between 2013 and 2020 academic years

Wouter Munneke, Christophe Demoulin, Nathalie Roussel, Marijke Leysen, C Paul Van Wilgen, Laurent Pitance, Roland R Reezigt, Lennard P Voogt, Wim Dankaerts, Lieven Danneels, Albère J A Köke, Wilfried Cools, Margot De Kooning, Jo Nijs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: In 2013, physical therapy students demonstrated low guideline-adherent recommendations regarding chronic low back pain (CLBP) for spinal pathology, activity, and work.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the differences in physical therapy students' attitudes, beliefs, and adherence to guideline recommendations regarding CLBP and knee osteoarthritis between 2013 and 2020.

METHODS: In 2013 and 2020, second and fourth-year physical therapy students were recruited from 6 Belgian and 2 Dutch institutions. Attitudes and beliefs regarding CLBP and knee OA were evaluated using the Pain Attitudes and Beliefs Scale for Physiotherapists (PABS-PT), the Health Care Providers' Pain and Impairment Relationship Scale (HC-PAIRS), and a questionnaire regarding therapeutic exercise and knee osteoarthritis. A clinical vignette was used to measure guideline-adherent recommendations regarding spinal pathology, activity, and work.

RESULTS: In 2013, 927 second-year and 695 fourth-year students; in 2020, 695 second-year and 489 fourth-year students; were recruited to participate in the study. Compared to 2013, students had less biomedical and stronger biopsychosocial attitudes and beliefs regarding CLBP, more guideline-adherent recommendations for activity, and more biopsychosocial beliefs regarding the benefits of exercise for patients with knee osteoarthritis in both the second and fourth year. Only fourth-year students in 2020 scored significantly better on HC-PAIRS and guideline-adherent recommendation relating to spinal pathology. No differences were found regarding work recommendations.

CONCLUSIONS: Between 2013 and 2020, physical therapy students made a positive shift towards a more biopsychosocial approach to CLBP and knee osteoarthritis management. Guideline-adherent recommendations for CLBP concerning activity improved, however, concerning work and spinal pathology, it remained low.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100592
Number of pages9
JournalBrazilian Journal of Physical Therapy
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank all institutions for their participation in this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Associação Brasileira de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação em Fisioterapia

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