THE PUBLIC'S OPINION OF CHIROPRACTIC ACCORDING TO STUDY
On Dec. 16, 2013, the Journal of Philosophy, Principles & Practice of Chiropractic published a study that examined how the public viewed chiropractic. The study authors were a chiropractor and a medical doctor who also had a chiropractic degree.
In explaining why they conducted the study, the authors stated, The purpose of this study was to explore the attitudes, perceptions and opinions toward the chiropractic profession from the standpoint of the general public. We wanted to gauge whether or not those attitudes, perceptions or opinions might affect consumer decision making and how that might relate to consumer utilization of chiropractic services.
The study authors noted, Firstly, we set out to simply gauge the general opinions and perceptions of members of the general public towards the chiropractic profession – focusing only on those who had never before been to a chiropractor or received chiropractic services.
In this study, a survey was created consisting of one question and 23 statements about chiropractic. This survey was intended to gauge the responses and attitudes of the general public toward chiropractic. The first question asked if the participant had ever received chiropractic care. Participants who answered Yes , were thanked and dismissed from the remainder of the survey. The researchers' intent was to gauge responses from those who had never been to a chiropractor before.
For those who participated in the survey, responses to the statements were limited to only disagree, neutral, or agree. Those volunteering to participate in the survey were asked for a response to statements regarding chiropractic subjects such as: scope of practice; levels of education; perceived income; safety of chiropractic care; marketing methods used by chiropractors; fees for treatments; chiropractic care for children; and perceived ethics of chiropractic business practices. In total, 537 surveys were returned.
One of the interesting responses from people who had never been to a chiropractor before was to the totally false statement, In order to see a D.C. for treatment, you require a referral from a medical doctor. The response was that 12 people disagreed, 10 were neutral, and 78 people agreed with this statement. Among the other misconceptions, the survey revealed that a high percentage of those participating underestimated the level of education needed for a Doctor of Chiropractic degree.
For the most part, the public did perceive chiropractic as a safe form of healthcare and they viewed chiropractors as ethical in their business practices. However, a majority did not know that chiropractors are licensed and regulated by their state licensing boards.
In addressing the gross misconceptions revealed in the study the authors commented, The results of the survey show that members of the public who have never before utilized chiropractic services appear to have a number of misconceptions, negative preconceptions and opinions of chiropractors and the chiropractic profession. One particularly glaring aspect was the overwhelmingly negative preconception of a chiropractor’s level of education and training.
In their conclusion, the authors wrote, Our preliminary findings have given us tremendous insight into some of the opinions the public has toward the chiropractic profession.