ABSTRACT: Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is a distinctive and foundational aspect of osteopathic medicine. Several studies have reported a decline in the use of OMT by practicing osteopathic physicians, but the reasons for this decline have not been fully investigated.
To investigate osteopathic medical students' attitudes and beliefs regarding osteopathic philosophy, including OMT.
A self-administered, 21-item, electronic questionnaire developed specifically for the current study was distributed to first- and second-year osteopathic medical students at 4 colleges of osteopathic medicine. The questionnaire contained items addressing student attitudes toward osteopathic philosophy, including OMT; perceptions of osteopathic predoctoral education; and plans for integrating OMT into future practice.
Of 1478 questionnaires sent, 491 students completed the questionnaire for an overall response rate of 33%. Analysis of student responses revealed that a majority of first- and second-year osteopathic medical students (95%-76%, depending on the question asked) expressed agreement with osteopathic philosophy. Students who reported prior exposure to OMT had higher levels of agreement with osteopathic philosophy statements (P<.04) and with the intention to use OMT (P<.02) than students with no prior exposure. However, students who were drawn to an osteopathic medical school by the desire to become a physician regardless of degree reported lower levels of agreement with osteopathic philosophy and the intention to use OMT. Students' levels of agreement with osteopathic philosophy and intention to use OMT varied significantly based on the school that they attended, their current year of study, and whether or not they were participating in clinical rotations.
The reason why a student decided to study osteopathic medicine was strongly associated with the level of agreement with osteopathic philosophy and the intention to use OMT in future practice. Prior experience receiving OMT, the medical school that a student attends, and the current year of study appear to be related to the students' levels of agreement with osteopathic philosophy and intention to use OMT.
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 11/2011; 111(11):615-30.