Research led by faculty in the South Carolina SmartState Center for Healthcare Quality, and the department of health promotion, education, and behavior in the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health investigated attitudes toward evidence-based practices among healthcare providers in China. They specifically examined the relationship between attitudes toward evidence-based practices, occupational stress, and work-related social support. The study was published in PLOS One and led by assistant professor Dr. Shan Qiao and professor Dr. Xiaoming Li along with collaborators from Guangxi Center of Disease Control and Prevention and Seton Hall University.
Individual attitudes toward evidence-based practices may influence adopting, implementing, and maintaining them in clinical settings. Previous research has already looked at how work context may shape perceptions and attitudes toward evidence-based practices. The present study broadened the scope of this line of research to include both work and family contexts using three key variables: occupational stress, work-related social support from co-workers, and work-related social support from family.
Their team analyzed cross-sectional survey data from 357 healthcare providers recruited from 40 HIV clinics across 16 cities/counties in Guangxi, China. They used a structural equation model to examine the associations between the key variables in this study.
The authors found that occupational stress was negatively associated with work-related social support from co-workers, which in turn was positively associated with attitudes toward evidence-based practices. Similarly, occupational stress was negatively related to work-related social support from family, which in turn was positively related to attitudes toward evidence-based practices. Occupational stress was negatively associated with attitudes toward evidence-based practices, but the magnitude of association did not reach statistical significance. Finally, work-related social support from family partially mediated the association between occupational stress and attitudes toward evidence-based practices.
The researchers’ findings suggest the importance of integrating work and family contexts, especially family support into the strategies of facilitating the adoption and implementation of evidence-based practices. These results also support the need to reduce occupational stress and enhance work-related social support among healthcare providers who are in frequent contact with HIV patients.
In addition, lack of work-related family support may be a main barrier preventing healthcare providers from developing a positive attitude toward evidence-based practices. Therefore, the interventions aiming for promoting adoption and utilization of evidence-based practices need to involve specific strategies to resolve work-family conflicts and improve family members’ understanding and support for healthcare providers in China, especially those who work in a stressful work context such as HIV care.