To determine if country (Australia, Taiwan, Singapore), undergraduate healthcare course (physiotherapy, nursing), low back pain (LBP) history, and year of course influenced various back pain beliefs in undergraduate female healthcare students.
Three hundred and 82 female undergraduate nursing and physiotherapy students completed questionnaires examining; the inevitability of future life with low back trouble, the LBP beliefs held by healthcare providers and fear avoidance beliefs related to physical activity. Also participants completed questionnaires to determine their LBP status. General linear models were used to determine whether differences existed for back beliefs scores.
Differences were evident in the future consequence of LBP between countries (P<0.001), undergraduate course (P<0.001), and LBP status (P=0.021). Healthcare provider beliefs were found to be significantly influenced by course only (P<0.001). Fear avoidance beliefs related to physical activity were influenced by country (P=0.002) and undergraduate course (P<0.001). When compared with white Australians, Taiwanese and Singaporean Chinese displayed more negative back beliefs regarding the future consequence of LBP (P<0.001) and more fear avoidant beliefs toward physical activity (P=0.021 and P<0.001, respectively). Further, nursing students had more negative back pain beliefs than physiotherapy students (P<0.001) and, the experience of LBP was associated with more positive beliefs on the future consequence of back trouble (P=0.021).
Findings of this study highlight the importance of country, education, and LBP experience on back pain beliefs. The more negative back pain beliefs found in Taiwan and Singapore may reflect current pain beliefs and management attitudes.