Attitudes and perceptions of training teaching students about alternative and complementary medicines: A focus group study

Author: Mavi Corell – Florida Universitària, Spain

Yolanda Cabrera – Universitat de València
Ramón Camaño-Puig – Universitat de València
Emilia Hermelinda Lopera-Pareja – CIEMAT

The main objective of this research is to study the perceptions and attitudes that teacher training students have about alternative and complementary medicines (CAM) in the context of the scientific literacy of these students. In Spain, alternative and complementary medicines are being questioned and analyzed given the absence of hard scientific evidence to support them. Pre-primary and Primary Education Degrees foster the development of scientific competences as a critical attitude towards knowledge, the capacity to understand how scientific knowledge is generated and the reliability of the information as well as the sources that provide it. As trainers of future generations, the scientific expertise of the teachers repeats directly in the scientific literacy of citizenship and it is relevant to study their attitudes and perceptions towards these therapies.

A qualitative methodology was chosen, creating six focus groups with seven students in each and using a script of 10 questions. The average age of the participants was 27 years; females were predominant (85%). Different categories of answer were established. In the category of ’relationship between emotions and health/illness‘ we found terms such as mood, anxiety, stress, depression, sadness and suffering, alluding to emotions. Respondents considered that there are internal and external causes of diseases and illness, understanding that the internal ones are the negative emotions and stress, and the external ones being life habits and alimentation. The participants referred to the doctor as a professional with whom it is difficult to communicate and who does not attend the emotions of patients. The absence of scientific evidence was not considered a factor to distrust CAM. In conclusion, the students are in favour of CAM, although they may not have use them, because these therapies deal with the emotional needs of the patient. This indicate a lack of scientific literacy in teacher training students.

Presentation type: Visual talk
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices