The attitudes to back pain scale in musculoskeletal practitioners (ABS-mp): the development and testing of a new questionnaire

Clin J Pain. 2006 May;22(4):378-86. doi: 10.1097/01.ajp.0000178223.85636.49.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Chiropractic
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis*
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthoptics
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Measurement / psychology*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*