Preaching to the Choir: Comparing Health Professionals Who Enroll in Mind-Body Skills Versus Herbs and Dietary Supplements Training?

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Abstract

Background.

Observational studies evaluating elective training programs may be biased if learners who enroll differ from nonenrollees. To assess self-selection bias, we compared participants who enrolled in 2 different online courses in complementary and alternative medical therapies.

Methods.

Participants were recruited from entering classes in medicine, nursing, social work, and dietetics, and residencies in family medicine and pediatrics. The 2 electives were (a) herbs and dietary supplements and (b) mind-body skills training. Participants completed standardized questionnaires before training.

Results.

The 218 participants had an average age of 28 years; 76% were trainees. There were no significant differences between enrollees in mind-body skills and herbs and dietary supplements with regard to age, gender, stress levels, mind-body training or practice, mindfulness, empathy, compassion, or resilience.

Conclusions.

Those who enroll in mind-body skills are not measurably different than those who enroll in herbs and dietary supplements. There is no evidence of self-selection bias or “preaching to the choir.”

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