Objective

Patient-centered care (PCC) is acknowledged globally as a foundation of quality patient care and key to doctor–patient rapport. Student attitudes toward PCC have been assessed in some health professions and some international chiropractic institutions but is lacking in the South African chiropractic student context. This study explores this concept and compares these attitudes to other student groups.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was conducted on chiropractic students (years 1, 3, 5, and 6) at a South African institution. The 18-item Patient–Practitioner Orientation Scale (PPOS), with scoring 1–6 on a Likert scale, was used to evaluate the attitude toward PCC by students. Higher scores were representative of more patient-centeredness. Variables were analyzed to assess for associations between variables. Mean PPOS scores were calculated, and reliability and validity were tested using Cronbach α and factor analysis.

Results

There were 100 respondents (68% response rate). The PPOS showed unsatisfactory reliability in our sample. The mean scores for the overall PPOS were 3.64 (SD = 0.46), the sharing subscale was 2.99 (SD = 0.61), and the caring subscale was 4.29 (SD = 0.58). There were small but suggestive trends noticed in PPOS scores based on age, sex, and year of study.

Conclusions

Chiropractic students from our university showed a general positive tendency toward PCC with no association between age and year of study. Sex showed some suggestive descriptive trends contrary to findings in other studies. The PPOS showed poor reliability in this study, warranting consideration with its use in similar contexts.

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Author notes

Fatima Ismail is a lecturer in the Department of Chiropractic at the University of Johannesburg (Department of Chiropractic, John Orr Building, 7th Floor, 55 Beit Street, Doornfontein, Johannesburg, 2028, South Africa; fismail@uj.co.zao). Christopher Yelverton is the Head of the Department of Chiropractic at the University of Johannesburg (Department of Chiropractic, John Orr Building, 7th Floor, 55 Beit Street, Doornfontein, Johannesburg, 2028, South Africa; chrisy@uj.ac.za). Tamaryn Schafer is in the Department of Chiropractic at the University of Johannesburg (Department of Chiropractic, John Orr Building, 7th Floor, 55 Beit Street, Doornfontein, Johannesburg, 2028, South Africa; tamarynschafer@gmail.com). Cynthia Peterson is a Professor (Department of Chiropractic, John Orr Building, 7th Floor, 55 Beit Street, Doornfontein, Johannesburg, 2028, South Africa; xraydcpeterson@yahoo.ca).

Concept development: TS, CY. Design: TS, CY. Supervision: CY, CP. Data collection/processing: TS. Analysis/interpretation: TS, CY, FI. Literature search: TS, CY, FI. Writing: TS, CY, FI. Critical review: TS, CY, FI.