Attitude, knowledge and behaviour towards evidence-based medicine of physical therapists, students, teachers and supervisors in the Netherlands: a survey

Authors

  • Gwendolijne G. M. Scholten-Peeters PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Researcher, Research Group Diagnostics, University of Applied Sciences, Breda, the Netherlands and Senior Researcher, Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC-University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
      Dr Gwendolijne GM Scholten-Peeters, University of Applied Sciences, Research Group Diagnostics, PO Box 90116, 4800 RA Breda, the Netherlands. E-mail: ggm.scholten-peeters@avans.nl
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  • Monique S. Beekman-Evers MSc,

    1. Educational Advisor and Researcher
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  • Annemiek C. J. W. van Boxel,

    1. Student Physical Therapy, Research Group Diagnostics, University of Applied Sciences, Breda, the Netherlands
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  • Sjanna van Hemert,

    1. Student Physical Therapy, Research Group Diagnostics, University of Applied Sciences, Breda, the Netherlands
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  • Winifred D. Paulis MSc,

    1. Junior Researcher
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  • Johannes C. van der Wouden PhD,

    1. Senior Researcher, Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC-University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
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  • Arianne P. Verhagen PhD

    1. Professor, Research Group Diagnostics, University of Applied Sciences, Breda, The Netherlands and Associate Professor, Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC-University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
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Dr Gwendolijne GM Scholten-Peeters, University of Applied Sciences, Research Group Diagnostics, PO Box 90116, 4800 RA Breda, the Netherlands. E-mail: ggm.scholten-peeters@avans.nl

Abstract

Rationale, aims and objectives  Evidence-based medicine (EBM) has gained widespread acceptance in physical therapy. However, because little is known about the attitudes, knowledge and behaviour of physical therapists towards EBM, and their participation in research to generate EBM, we explored these aspects among physical therapy students, teachers, supervisors and practising physical therapists.

Methods  This is a cross-sectional survey in which participants completed a web-based questionnaire to determine their attitudes, knowledge and behaviour regarding EBM, and their participation in research.

Results  Questionnaires were sent to 814 participants of which 165 were returned. The overall mean score for attitude was 4.3 [standard deviation (SD) 1.0; range 1–7], which indicates a weak positive attitude. Teachers scored the highest (4.9, SD 1.2) and students the lowest (4.1, SD 0.8). Although most participants had some understanding of the technical terms used in EBM, only teachers felt able to explain these terms to others. Of the students, 45% rated their perceived EBM knowledge as bad and 45% as average, whereas 78% of the teachers considered that they had good knowledge. To answer clinical questions, most students generally use textbooks (96%) and the opinion of their supervisors (87.7%).

Conclusions  There is a weak positive attitude of physical therapists, teachers, supervisors and students towards participating in research in general practice, but there is a lack of knowledge and active behaviour regarding EBM, especially among physical therapy students.

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