The effects of a brief educational intervention on medical students' knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards low back pain

Christina Abdel Shaheed*, Jane Graves, Chris Maher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and aims Knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards low back pain (LBP) can significantly impact a health care provider's clinical decision making. Several studies have investigated interventions designed to change practitioner attitudes and beliefs towards LBP, however no such studies involving medical students have been identified. Methods This study explored medical students' knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards LBP before and after a brief educational intervention on LBP. Responses from medical students (n = 93) were evaluated before and after a 15-min educational video on back pain. The intervention was developed using Camtasia™ video editor and screen recorder. Knowledge, attitudes and beliefs were measured using the “Modified Back Beliefs Questionnaire“, with items from two previously reported questionnaires on back beliefs. The questionnaire asks participants to indicate their agreement with statements about LBP on a 5-point Likert scale. Preferred responses were based on guidelines for the evidence-based management of LBP. The primary analysis evaluated total score on the nine-inevitability items of the Back Beliefs Questionnaire (“inevitability score”). Results Following the brief intervention there was a significant improvement in the inevitability score (post-workshop mean [SD] 20.8 [4.9] vs pre-workshop mean [SD] 26.9 [4.2]; mean difference (MD) 6.1, p < 0.001; lower score more favourable1) and large improvements in the proportion of students providing correct responses to items on activity (pre: 49% vs post: 79%), bed rest (41% vs 75%), imaging (44% vs 74%) and recovery (25% vs 66%). Conclusions After watching the educational video students' knowledge, beliefs and attitudes towards LBP improved and thus aligned more closely with evidence-based guidelines. Implications Medical doctors are at the forefront of managing low back pain in the community, however there is a need to strengthen musculoskeletal education in medical training programmes. The results from this research suggest educational interventions on back pain do not need to be extensive in order to have favourable outcomes on medical students' knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards back pain. The translational effects of these changes into clinical practice are not known.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-104
Number of pages4
JournalScandinavian Journal of Pain
Volume16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • low back pain
  • attitudes
  • beliefs
  • knowledge
  • medical education

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