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Fam Med. 2001 Nov-Dec;33(10):772-8.

Development of the HIV/AIDS Q-sort instrument to measure physician attitudes.

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  • 1Department of Family Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90033, USA.



Providers'attitudes about HIV/AIDS are an important dimension in the delivery of quality care to persons with HIV/AIDS. It is believed that education can alter attitudes, but there is a needfor a user-friendly instrument to measure the effect that HIV/AIDS educational programs have on attitudes.


A pool of HIV/AIDS attitude descriptors was collected through literature review and from individuals working in the HIV/AIDS field. Out of this pool of 90 descriptors, 48 descriptors with the highest face validity were selected through expert consensus ranking to create a preliminary survey instrument. Twenty-six physicians completed a pilot Q-Sort instrument with 48 descriptors. A variance analysis was conducted, and the top 28 descriptors with the most variability were selected for the final Q-Sort instrument, which was then completed by 191 physicians. A factor analysis was conducted to identify a small number of factors that explained the 28 descriptors. A subsample of 22 physicians repeated the test to establish test-retest reliability.


Factor analysis revealed three factors: (1) emotionality, (2) ability, and (3) reluctance. The Q-Sort instrument demonstrated good test-retest reliability, with reliability for the three factors of .82, .80, and .88, respectively.


This Q-sort instrument is a reliable method for measuring physician attitudes toward HIV/AIDS patients. Further studies can test its use for evaluating the effect of educational programs on changing provider attitudes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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