Development of A Tool to Assess Resident Physicians’ Perceived Competence for Patient-centered Obesity Counseling

Amy M. Burton, Carl M. Brezausek, Peter S. Hendricks, April A. Agne, Shirley L. Hankins, Andrea L. Cherrington


Physicians report a number of barriers to obesity counseling, among them low perceived competence in the ability to counsel. While there is increasing recognition of the need for resident training on counseling, implementation requires residency programs to have the necessary curricula and tools to evaluate training effectiveness. This study’s objective was to describe the development and psychometric testing of the Perceived Competence for Obesity Counseling (PCOC) scale. Items were generated based on constructs from the 5A’s counseling framework, review of the obesity literature, and expert opinion. The 20-item scale was piloted among 74 resident physicians. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to identify the number and nature of factors in the scale.  Pearson's correlation was used to assess scale validity of the total scores and sub-scale scores association with residents’ overall confidence in counseling and outcome expectancy for obesity counseling. Analyses suggested a 3-factor solution. After the removal of cross loading items, eighteen items were retained; eleven items loaded on the first factor, four items on the second factor, and three on the third factor. Cronbach's alpha for the 18-item PCOC scale was 0.95 indicating internal consistency. The PCOC scale was significantly correlated with resident’s overall confidence in counseling (r = 0.60, p < 0.01) and outcome expectancy for obesity counseling (r = 0.41, p < 0.01). This pilot study suggests PCOC is holds promise as a valid and reliable measure of resident’s perceived competence for obesity counseling. Future studies are needed to assess the scale’s association with counseling skills.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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