Research perceptions and utilization among massage therapists in Saskatchewan, Canada
Gowan-Moody, Donelda Mae
Purpose & Objectives: To foster improved client care and the continued professionalization of Massage Therapy (MT), it is important that MT practitioners’ research utilization is more clearly understood. The purpose of the study was to explore Massage Therapists’ (MTs) perceptions of research and their self-reported research utilization. Specifically, to 1) describe MT’s perceptions of research and their appraised self-efficacy in research literacy and capacity; 2) better understand the nature of MT’s research utilization; 3) identify what practitioner characteristics are associated with research utilization. Methods: Using a sequential explanatory mixed methods design, the study was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, all (815) registered members of the Massage Therapist Association of Saskatchewan (MTAS) were invited to participate in a mail-out survey. In the second phase, semi-structured qualitative interviews using a critical incident framework explored the nature of practitioners’ use of research. Univariate and logistic regression analysis were conducted using SPSS. Results: In total, 333 questionnaires were returned for a 41% response rate. MTAS members reported overall positive perceptions of research as indicated by high endorsement of its value in adding credibility to MT and by majority agreement that MT practice should be based on research. Reported self-efficacy in various research literacy and capacity skills revealed low levels of knowledge and experience. Reported reference to online research databases, reference to peer-reviewed journals, the belief that MT practice should be based on research, and working more than 20 hours per week were all predictive of research utilization. Case study participants described specific events regarding challenges and successes in utilizing research in their practices and key factors underpinning research utilization were issues of access, issues related to the practitioner, issues of the research itself, and issues of impact on care. Conclusion & Implications: While members of the MTAS perceive research positively, a gap exists between research and practice. Challenges to the diffusion of research appear to be occurring at the stages of research awareness and understanding. Curriculum in MT schools should include more critical appraisal training and more research-based resources. Provincial regulatory status may be the first step to quality training and service delivery.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentCommunity Health and Epidemiology
ProgramCommunity Health and Epidemiology
Copyright DateAugust 2010
complementary and alternative medicine