Attitudes of registered physiotherapists in Israel toward people identifying as lesbian, gay, and bisexual: a cross-sectional survey

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Abstract

Background: This study aimed to explore the attitudes of registered physiotherapists (PTs) in Israel toward people identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) and to identify background characteristics associated with their attitudes toward LGB individuals. Methods: This nationwide study in Israel employed an observational design. Participants completed an anonymous online questionnaire which included demographic characteristics (e.g., age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and religiousness) and questions regarding sources of knowledge about LGB individuals, and type of acquaintance with an LGB individual. In addition to two self-assessment questions regarding levels of homophobia (active engagement against LGB individuals) and heterosexism (holding negative opinions regarding LGB individuals) answered on a five point Likert scale (1 – not at all homophobic/ heterosexist, 5- very homophobic/ heterosexist) and the Hebrew version of the Attitudes Toward Homosexuality Scale (ATHS). Participants were recruited through professional organizations, social media, and word of mouth. Results: The data of 383 registered PTs practicing in Israel were analyzed. The median score regarding level of homophobia and heterosexism was one (“not at all”). ATHS scores ranged between 32 and 110 (out of 110), with a median score of 106 and 41% scoring below the median. Multivariant logistic regression indicated that identifying as men, heterosexual orientation, and religiousness were significantly associated with less positive attitudes toward LGB individuals. Only 2% of the participants reported having been introduced to issues regarding the LGB community during their professional physiotherapy education. Conclusions: Registered PTs in Israel demonstrated favorable attitudes toward LGB individuals, as reflected both by ATHS scores and levels of self-reported homophobia and heterosexism. Based on the current results regarding sources of knowledge, updating the physiotherapy curriculum to include information regarding sexual orientation and health of the LGB community is suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Article number581
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Shiraz Vered?from the?Statistics Consulting Unit, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel?for the statical analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Curriculum
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Heterosexuality
  • LGB
  • Physiotherapists
  • Sexual and gender minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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