Physicians' attitudes about obesity and their associations with competency and specialty

A cross-sectional study

Melanie Jay, Adina Kalet, Tavinder Ark, Michelle McMacken, Mary Jo Messito, Regina Richter, Sheira Schlair, Scott Sherman, Sondra Zabar, Colleen Gillespie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Background. Physicians frequently report negative attitudes about obesity which is thought to affect patient care. However, little is known about how attitudes toward treating obese patients are formed. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of physicians in order to better characterize their attitudes and explore the relationships among attitudes, perceived competency in obesity care, including report of weight loss in patients, and other key physician, training, and practice characteristics. Methods. We surveyed all 399 physicians from internal medicine, pediatrics, and psychiatry specialties at one institution regarding obesity care attitudes, competency, including physician report of percent of their patients who lose weight. We performed a factor analysis on the attitude items and used hierarchical regression analysis to explore the degree to which competency, reported weight loss, physician, training and practice characteristics explained the variance in each attitude factor. Results. The overall response rate was 63%. More than 40% of physicians had a negative reaction towards obese patients, 56% felt qualified to treat obesity, and 46% felt successful in this realm. The factor analysis revealed 4 factorsPhysician Discomfort/Bias, Physician Success/Self Efficacy, Positive Outcome Expectancy, and Negative Outcome Expectancy. Competency and reported percent of patients who lose weight were most strongly associated with the Physician Success/Self Efficacy attitude factor. Greater skill in patient assessment was associated with less Physician Discomfort/Bias. Training characteristics were associated with outcome expectancies with newer physicians reporting more positive treatment expectancies. Pediatric faculty was more positive and psychiatry faculty less negative in their treatment expectancies than internal medicine faculty. Conclusion. Physician attitudes towards obesity are associated with competency, specialty, and years since postgraduate training. Further study is necessary to determine the direction of influence and to explore the impact of these attitudes on patient care.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number106
    JournalBMC Health Services Research
    Volume9
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 29 2009

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    Obesity
    Cross-Sectional Studies
    Physicians
    Self Efficacy
    Internal Medicine
    Statistical Factor Analysis
    Psychiatry
    Weight Loss
    Patient Care
    Pediatrics
    Weights and Measures
    Regression Analysis
    Therapeutics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health Policy

    Cite this

    Physicians' attitudes about obesity and their associations with competency and specialty : A cross-sectional study. / Jay, Melanie; Kalet, Adina; Ark, Tavinder; McMacken, Michelle; Messito, Mary Jo; Richter, Regina; Schlair, Sheira; Sherman, Scott; Zabar, Sondra; Gillespie, Colleen.

    In: BMC Health Services Research, Vol. 9, 106, 29.07.2009.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Jay, M, Kalet, A, Ark, T, McMacken, M, Messito, MJ, Richter, R, Schlair, S, Sherman, S, Zabar, S & Gillespie, C 2009, 'Physicians' attitudes about obesity and their associations with competency and specialty: A cross-sectional study', BMC Health Services Research, vol. 9, 106. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-9-106
    Jay, Melanie ; Kalet, Adina ; Ark, Tavinder ; McMacken, Michelle ; Messito, Mary Jo ; Richter, Regina ; Schlair, Sheira ; Sherman, Scott ; Zabar, Sondra ; Gillespie, Colleen. / Physicians' attitudes about obesity and their associations with competency and specialty : A cross-sectional study. In: BMC Health Services Research. 2009 ; Vol. 9.
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    abstract = "Background. Physicians frequently report negative attitudes about obesity which is thought to affect patient care. However, little is known about how attitudes toward treating obese patients are formed. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of physicians in order to better characterize their attitudes and explore the relationships among attitudes, perceived competency in obesity care, including report of weight loss in patients, and other key physician, training, and practice characteristics. Methods. We surveyed all 399 physicians from internal medicine, pediatrics, and psychiatry specialties at one institution regarding obesity care attitudes, competency, including physician report of percent of their patients who lose weight. We performed a factor analysis on the attitude items and used hierarchical regression analysis to explore the degree to which competency, reported weight loss, physician, training and practice characteristics explained the variance in each attitude factor. Results. The overall response rate was 63{\%}. More than 40{\%} of physicians had a negative reaction towards obese patients, 56{\%} felt qualified to treat obesity, and 46{\%} felt successful in this realm. The factor analysis revealed 4 factorsPhysician Discomfort/Bias, Physician Success/Self Efficacy, Positive Outcome Expectancy, and Negative Outcome Expectancy. Competency and reported percent of patients who lose weight were most strongly associated with the Physician Success/Self Efficacy attitude factor. Greater skill in patient assessment was associated with less Physician Discomfort/Bias. Training characteristics were associated with outcome expectancies with newer physicians reporting more positive treatment expectancies. Pediatric faculty was more positive and psychiatry faculty less negative in their treatment expectancies than internal medicine faculty. Conclusion. Physician attitudes towards obesity are associated with competency, specialty, and years since postgraduate training. Further study is necessary to determine the direction of influence and to explore the impact of these attitudes on patient care.",
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    T2 - A cross-sectional study

    AU - Jay, Melanie

    AU - Kalet, Adina

    AU - Ark, Tavinder

    AU - McMacken, Michelle

    AU - Messito, Mary Jo

    AU - Richter, Regina

    AU - Schlair, Sheira

    AU - Sherman, Scott

    AU - Zabar, Sondra

    AU - Gillespie, Colleen

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    N2 - Background. Physicians frequently report negative attitudes about obesity which is thought to affect patient care. However, little is known about how attitudes toward treating obese patients are formed. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of physicians in order to better characterize their attitudes and explore the relationships among attitudes, perceived competency in obesity care, including report of weight loss in patients, and other key physician, training, and practice characteristics. Methods. We surveyed all 399 physicians from internal medicine, pediatrics, and psychiatry specialties at one institution regarding obesity care attitudes, competency, including physician report of percent of their patients who lose weight. We performed a factor analysis on the attitude items and used hierarchical regression analysis to explore the degree to which competency, reported weight loss, physician, training and practice characteristics explained the variance in each attitude factor. Results. The overall response rate was 63%. More than 40% of physicians had a negative reaction towards obese patients, 56% felt qualified to treat obesity, and 46% felt successful in this realm. The factor analysis revealed 4 factorsPhysician Discomfort/Bias, Physician Success/Self Efficacy, Positive Outcome Expectancy, and Negative Outcome Expectancy. Competency and reported percent of patients who lose weight were most strongly associated with the Physician Success/Self Efficacy attitude factor. Greater skill in patient assessment was associated with less Physician Discomfort/Bias. Training characteristics were associated with outcome expectancies with newer physicians reporting more positive treatment expectancies. Pediatric faculty was more positive and psychiatry faculty less negative in their treatment expectancies than internal medicine faculty. Conclusion. Physician attitudes towards obesity are associated with competency, specialty, and years since postgraduate training. Further study is necessary to determine the direction of influence and to explore the impact of these attitudes on patient care.

    AB - Background. Physicians frequently report negative attitudes about obesity which is thought to affect patient care. However, little is known about how attitudes toward treating obese patients are formed. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of physicians in order to better characterize their attitudes and explore the relationships among attitudes, perceived competency in obesity care, including report of weight loss in patients, and other key physician, training, and practice characteristics. Methods. We surveyed all 399 physicians from internal medicine, pediatrics, and psychiatry specialties at one institution regarding obesity care attitudes, competency, including physician report of percent of their patients who lose weight. We performed a factor analysis on the attitude items and used hierarchical regression analysis to explore the degree to which competency, reported weight loss, physician, training and practice characteristics explained the variance in each attitude factor. Results. The overall response rate was 63%. More than 40% of physicians had a negative reaction towards obese patients, 56% felt qualified to treat obesity, and 46% felt successful in this realm. The factor analysis revealed 4 factorsPhysician Discomfort/Bias, Physician Success/Self Efficacy, Positive Outcome Expectancy, and Negative Outcome Expectancy. Competency and reported percent of patients who lose weight were most strongly associated with the Physician Success/Self Efficacy attitude factor. Greater skill in patient assessment was associated with less Physician Discomfort/Bias. Training characteristics were associated with outcome expectancies with newer physicians reporting more positive treatment expectancies. Pediatric faculty was more positive and psychiatry faculty less negative in their treatment expectancies than internal medicine faculty. Conclusion. Physician attitudes towards obesity are associated with competency, specialty, and years since postgraduate training. Further study is necessary to determine the direction of influence and to explore the impact of these attitudes on patient care.

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