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J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2008 Nov-Dec;31(9):682-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2008.10.002.

Social communication skills of chiropractors: implications for professional practice.

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Academic Affairs, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, Iowa 52803, USA.



Social communication skills are critical in the health professions. The aim of this study was to measure and identify professional practice predictors of social communication skills of practicing chiropractors.


The study population was derived from a group of doctors of chiropractic who participated in a practice-based research program. Participating chiropractors agreed to complete a survey detailing the chiropractor's sex, years in practice, practice type, size of the practice community, typical weekly practice volume, and an instrument to measure skills of social communication. Regression analysis was applied to identify associations between independent variables and responses to the social skills instrument.


Results suggested that selected characteristics of clinical practice may be associated with clinician's social skills of communication. The weekly volume of patients to the practice emerged as a salient explanatory factor of overall social communication skills and as a factor individually for dimensions of social expressivity and social control. The practice arrangement (solo vs group) proved important in terms of respondent emotional control scores. Similarly, the solo vs group practice variable was associated with higher levels of emotional sensitivity; however, this association was mediated by the sex of the doctor of chiropractic; men reported lower levels of emotional sensitivity than women.


The findings of this study suggest associations between dimensions of social communication skills, practice characteristics, practice arrangements, and sex that may inform the efforts of educators as they endeavor to better prepare health professionals for practice in a wide spectrum of settings.

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