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.