Previous research has considered the impact of personal and situational factors on treatment responses. This article documents the first phase of a four-stage project on patient characteristics that may influence responsiveness to acupuncture treatment, reporting results from an exploratory practitioner survey. Methods:
Acupuncture practitioners from various medical professions were recruited through professional organisations to complete an online survey about their demographics and attitudes as well as 60 questions on specific factors that might influence treatment. They gave categorical (“Yes”, “No”, and “Don’t know”) and free-text responses. Quantitative and qualitative (thematic) analyses were then conducted. Results:
There were more affirmative than negative or uncertain responses overall. Certain characteristics, including ability to relax, exercise and diet, were most often considered relevant. Younger and male practitioners were more likely to respond negatively. Limited support was found for groupings between characteristics. Qualitative data provide explanatory depth. Response fatigue was evident over the course of the survey. Conclusions:
Targeting and reminders may benefit uptake when conducting survey research. Practitioner characteristics influence their appreciation of patient characteristics. Factors consistently viewed as important included ability to relax, exercise and diet. Acupuncture practitioners may benefit from additional training in certain areas. Surveys may produce more informative results if reduced in length and complexity.
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