Original Research

Level of knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards patients with chronic low back pain among final year School of Therapeutic Sciences students at the University of the Witwatersrand – A cross-sectional study

Grace Mukoka, Benita Olivier, Sadiya Ravat
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 75, No 1 | a683 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v75i1.683 | © 2019 Grace Mukoka, Benita Olivier, Sadiya Ravat | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 September 2018 | Published: 14 August 2019

About the author(s)

Grace Mukoka, Department of Physiotherapy, University of Malawi College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi; and, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Benita Olivier, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sadiya Ravat, Department of Physiotherapy, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

Background: Knowledge of neurophysiology of pain influences healthcare providers’ attitudes and beliefs about patients with chronic low back pain which affect management choices.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the level of knowledge of pain and attitudes and beliefs towards patients with chronic low back pain among final year undergraduate students from the School of Therapeutic Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included two questionnaires – Health Care Providers’ Pain and Impairment Relationship Scale (HC-PAIRS) for measuring attitudes and beliefs about pain and the Neurophysiology of Pain Questionnaire (NPQ) for knowledge of pain. These were distributed to 224 students. An analysis of variance and a two-sided t tests compared data with p ≤ 0.05.

Results: The study had a 65% response rate (n = 145), of which the majority were female students (n = 115, 79%). Overall, the mean correct NPQ score was 6.01 (± 1.98), with a significant difference among the programmes (p = 0.005). Mean NPQ scores for each programme were as follows: physiotherapy 6.97 (1.77), biokinetics 6.31 (2.43), exercise science 6.25 (2.5), pharmacy and pharmacology 5.69 (1.39), nursing 5.32 (1.39) and occupation therapy 5.21 (2.09). The mean correct scores for HC-PAIRS were 63.1 (8.9), with significantly higher scores in females than males (p = 0.04). Knowledge scores had a low inverse relationship with scores for attitudes and beliefs towards patients with chronic low back pain (r = -0.304; p = 0.0002).

Conclusion: There is a deficit in knowledge of pain among final year students in the School of Therapeutic Sciences, with a low correlation with attitudes and beliefs towards patients with chronic low back pain. Therefore, improving the knowledge of pain might result in a change in these attitudes and beliefs.

Clinical implications: The results have shown an association between knowledge of pain and attitudes and beliefs towards patients with chronic low back pain. Therefore, knowledge is one of the factors that could contribute in changing the attitudes.


Keywords

knowledge of pain; attitude; beliefs; patients with chronic low back pain; undergraduate students

Metrics

Total abstract views: 265
Total article views: 173


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.