Rationale, aims, and objectives: Physiotherapists' attitudes toward low back pain (LBP) are linked to patients' attitudes toward pain, chronicity, and disability. Nevertheless, there is a scarcity of studies exploring the variables associated with physiotherapists' attitudes. The present study seeks to explore whether there is an association between the physiotherapists' work setting and their attitudes toward LBP, whether there is an association between the physiotherapists' clinical experience with LBP patients and their attitudes toward LBP, and which variable best predicts physiotherapists' attitudes toward LBP. Method: A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data which included a socio-demographic section, self-reports about the work setting, and a clinical experience section. Participants also completed the 15-item Health Care Providers' Pain and Impairment Relationship Scale (HC-Pairs) questionnaire. The HC-Pairs is scored on a 7-point Likert scale, a high score indicating a stronger belief that pain limits daily function. Results: A total of 213 physiotherapists completed the questionnaire. The mean HC-Pairs score of community-orthopaedics physiotherapists was significantly lower than that of non community-orthopaedics physiotherapists (mean 44.02- + 9.44 vs 48.69- + 10.89, t = −3.29, P < 0.001) indicating that community-orthopaedics physiotherapists hold a weaker belief that pain limits daily function. Analysis suggests that there is a statistically significant difference in the mean HC-Pairs scores between the high-frequency and the low-frequency group (F = 4.688, P < 0.05) implicating that as physiotherapists experience more frequent encounters with LBP patients, their belief that pain limits daily function of these patients weakens. Work setting is the only variable that predicts the HC-Pairs scores. Conclusions: There is an association between physiotherapists' work setting and clinical experience with LBP patients and their attitudes toward LBP. These findings have implications for future educational programs for physiotherapists and suggest the need to adapt programs to the work setting of physiotherapists and to their level of clinical experience.
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© 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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