The Attitudes to Back Pain Scale in Musculoskeletal Practitioners (ABS-mp): The Development and Testing of a New Questionnaire

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Abstract

Objectives

Little is known about practitioners' beliefs and attitudes to the treatment of low back pain, and whether these influence their clinical decisions, intervention strategies, and patient-centered outcomes. This study aimed to develop, test, and explore the underlying dimensions of a new questionnaire, the Attitudes to Back Pain Scale (ABS), in a specific group of clinicians, practitioners who specialize in musculoskeletal therapy.

Methods

Items for the draft questionnaire were derived from interviews with practitioners (chiropractors, osteopaths, and physiotherapists). The draft questionnaire (52 items) sought to assess practitioners' attitudes concerning role and self-image plus their beliefs about treatment goals and prognosis of low back pain. The questionnaire was sent to a random selection of 300 practitioners from each professional group, and 546 (61%) responded. Split-sample analyses were performed using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis.

Results

Separate exploratory analyses were done for attitudes concerned with personal interaction (34 items) and attitudes about treatment orientation (18 items), producing six domains: limitations on sessions, psychologic, connection to health care system, confidence and concern, reactivation, and biomedical. Confirmatory analyses indicated that the model tested presented a good fit. Validity interviews revealed high agreement of categorization and low levels of difficulty in categorizing the items.

Conclusions

The internal structure of the new questionnaire not only shows excellent psychometric properties and good face validity, but also has the added advantage of being developed with a specific clinical context in mind. Additional evaluation is required to fully describe the psychometric integrity of this instrument.

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