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Title: The perceptions of South African chiropractors, regarding their professional identity
Authors: Keyter, Karin
Keywords: Chiropractic;Chiropractors;South Africa;Identity;Public;Medical
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: It is well documented that the chiropractic profession has been
searching for a unified professional identity. Acknowledging this need for a
professional identity relevant to the public, the World Federation of Chiropractic
(WFC) attempted to address these concerns by conducting an international
questionnaire based Identity Consultation. However, of the 3689 chiropractors
who responded, only 34 were from South Africa. Therefore this study aimed to
determine the perception of South African chiropractors regarding their public
identity and to compare the results with those from international studies.
Objectives: To determine the demographic profile of South African
chiropractors, and how they perceived their professional identity relative to their
own opinions, those of the public and those of medical doctors. This study
investigated how South African chiropractors saw their profession relative to
physiotherapy and South African chiropractor’s knowledge of the WFC Identity
Method: The study was a population based demographic study making use of a
descriptive, observational, cross sectional design. It was a quantitative selfadministered
questionnaire distributed to those South African chiropractors
meeting the inclusion criteria (n=398). The WFC Identity Consultation
questionnaire was modified and developed by the researcher to suit a South
African audience after permission was obtained from the chairperson of the
Results: A response rate of 30.15% was obtained. Ninety percent of South
African chiropractors felt that it was important for their profession to have a clear
identity. However, only 1.7% agreed that it did have a clear identity. When asked
how the public viewed chiropractic, 45% felt that the public had no clear
perception of the profession, with 92.5% viewing it as Complementary and
The Perceptions of South African Chiropractors, Regarding Their Professional Identity
Alternative Medicine (CAM). However, 89.2% of South African chiropractors
would like the public to perceive chiropractic as mainstream medicine. When
asked how chiropractic was viewed by South African chiropractors relative to
physiotherapy, it was agreed that they were two separate professions each with
their own identity (74.2%). The chiropractic adjustment was seen as a strong
brand advantage over physiotherapy. When asked how they thought medical
doctors viewed chiropractic, 73.3% felt that they did not have a clear perception
of the profession, with 96.7% considering medical doctors to view chiropractic
as CAM. Medical doctors’ perceptions were considered to be very important with
respect to inter-professional relations. Just over half (54.2%) of South African
chiropractors knew about the WFC identity, less than half of whom (47.5%)
agreed with it.
Conclusions: The study revealed that there was a significant difference between
how South African chiropractors thought the public and medical doctors currently
perceived chiropractic and how they would like to be perceived. It revealed that
like their international counterparts chiropractors in South Africa are striving for a
unified identity that is different to the way they are currently perceived by the
health care stakeholders.
Description: Dissertation submitted in partial compliance with the requirements for a Masters Degree in Technology, Durban University of Technology, 2010.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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