Social Representations of Health in Allied Health Professional Students and Lecturers
1Carinthia University of Applied Science, School of Healthcare Management
2University of Vienna, Department of Psychology
3HSD University of Applied Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cologne
Current challenges of the healthcare system call for interdisciplinary cooperation of health professionals. The university is responsible for disposing students accordingly. Social representations theory was used as a framework for studying the social representations of health of allied health professional students and faculty. Study 1: Students (N = 465) completed a pile sorting task (sorting 142 health terms according to perceived similarity). Non-parametric multidimensional scaling yielded three essential dimensions: individual vs. system, therapy vs. prevention, and health threats vs. controllability (Kada et al., 2013). Study 2: Leading items from each dimension were presented to 131 lecturers in pairwise comparisons of health terms’ importance for education (N = 8724 completed paired comparisons). Conditional logistic regression models were applied for analysis. Judged importance was highest for terms covering specific duties of lecturers own professions (McFadden's LRI = 0.127). Thus, interdisciplinarity was not regarded a key element of education. Results call for and may support the creation of learning environments enabling students to think outside the box of their own professions.