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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Development and validation of IMAQ: Integrative Medicine Attitude Questionnaire

Craig D Schneider14*, Paula M Meek2 and Iris R Bell34

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Practice, Maine Medical Center, 22 Bramhall St. Portland, ME 04102-3175 USA

2 University of New Mexico College of Nursing, MSC09 5350, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, USA

3 Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, Medicine and Public Health, The University of Arizona College of Medicine, 1501 N. Campbell Avenue, Tucson, AZ 84724, USA

4 University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine, 1501 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson, AZ 85724, USA

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BMC Medical Education 2003, 3:5  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-3-5

Published: 28 August 2003

Abstract

Background

Complementary/alternative medicine and integrative medicine (CAM/IM) are increasingly used in the U.S. We set out to develop and validate a brief questionnaire measuring health care provider and medical student attitudes regarding these approaches to healthcare.

Methods

IMAQ is a 29-item, 7-point Likert scale rated instrument, developed from focus groups consisting of faculty, fellows, visiting residents, and medical students at a university based integrative medicine program. Respondents included 111 (of 574 contacted) internal medicine physicians on an academic medical center CME list and 85 healthcare providers (mostly physicians) attending an American Holistic Medical Association Annual Conference (296 attending). Cohorts were selected for expected differences in attitudes toward CAM/IM.

Results

Factor analysis demonstrated that a 2 factor solution best explained the variance in responses (38%). Factor 1 ("openness to new ideas and paradigms") explained 26% of variance with loadings ranging from 0.79 to 0.3, with factor 2 ("value of both introspection and relationship to patient") contributing an additional 12% of the explained variance with loadings ranging from 0.69 to 0.42. Both factors demonstrated adequate reliability. Factor 1 had a Cronbach's alpha of 0.91, while factor 2 was 0.72. As expected, AHMA conference attendees scored higher (F = 120.00, p < 0.001) than the internists on the IMAQ, supporting the construct validity. Although 63% of the AHMA subjects, and only 32% of the internists were female, analysis revealed that gender did not explain the score differences (F = 2.6, p > 0.05).

Conclusions

Analysis of the IMAQ provided evidence of its reliability and validity in measuring attitudes toward CAM/IM, specifically openness to new ideas and paradigms, and the value of relationship to self and patient. Initial findings support use of the IMAQ in measuring attitudes of students and practitioners towards CAM/IM interventions as a first step in understanding willingness to use these approaches to healing. It is our desire that this preliminary instrument will continue to be refined as the field of CAM/IM matures.