Abstract: (see Poster Gallery) Beliefs, Attitudes, and Knowledge of Complementary and Alternative Interventions Among Licensed Clinical Social Work Practitioners (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

549P (see Poster Gallery) Beliefs, Attitudes, and Knowledge of Complementary and Alternative Interventions Among Licensed Clinical Social Work Practitioners

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Tina Vitolo, MSW, Lcsw, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
Morgan Cooley, PhD, Associate Professor, Florida Atlantic University, FL
Diane Sherman, Ph.D., Professor, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL
Darren Weissman, DC, Chiropractic Holistic Physician, The LifeLine Wellness Center, IL
Background: Complementary and Alternative Interventions (CAI) are non-mainstream interventions, which are not considered allopathic, being utilized in conjunction with conventional physical or mental health practice. CAI includes five main categories (Armson et al., 2020; Clarke et al., 2015; IOM, 2005; NCCIH, 2020; NIMH, 2020): (a) alternative medical systems built on systems of theory and practice (e.g., homeopathy, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine); (b) biology-based interventions (e.g., supplements, vitamins, dietary changes); (c) mind-body interventions (e.g., hypnosis, prayer, meditation, biofeedback); (d) body-based interventions (e.g., yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy, massage); (e) energy interventions (e.g., Reiki, qi gong). There has been an increased use of CAI to treat physical and mental health conditions over time (McEwen, 2015), which is largely due to congruency between CAI interventions and clients’ values, beliefs, attitudes, and philosophical views on health and life (El-Olemy et al., 2014; Islahudin et al., 2020; McFadden et al., 2010). The overarching purpose of this study was to examine a sample of licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) and identify their use CAI in practice and whether there appears to be any demographic trends among CAI use. The secondary purpose was to examine whether there are specific beliefs, attitudes, or knowledge that are significantly associated with the use of CAI.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional web-based survey of LCSWs in the state of Florida (n = 551). Measures included: (a) LCSWs use of CAI with 3 dichotomous (yes/no) questions of use in assessment, practice, and in their personal/non-professional life; (b) CAI beliefs: CBHQ (Lie & Boker, 2004), 10-items (α=.85); and (c) CAI knowledge and attitudes: NrCAM K&A subscales (Rojas-Cooley & Grant, 2009), 9 knowledge items (α=.33), 13 attitudes items (α=.90). Descriptive and inferential statistics used (Pearsons r, ANOVA, independent samples t test, logistic regression) to test the proposed relationships.

Results: Approximately 60% of LCSWs use CAI in assessment and practice, and 90% use CAI in their personal life. There were few demographic trends; however, age was associated with more positive beliefs but less knowledge, and White participants reported significantly more positive attitudes toward CAI than Black participants. More positive attitudes toward CAI, but not beliefs or knowledge of CAI, were associated with increased odds of assessing for CAI and using it in practice with clients.

Conclusions/Implications: Overall, there is very little research on CAI to better understand the impact of beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge of CAI on assessment and practice in social work. There are a number of similarities with prior research on CAI in the medical field. Future research should examine the source and quality of CAI education for social workers, how social workers decide to use CAI with clients, and develop more reliable or valid measures for CAI knowledge among social workers. Practitioners should obtain education on CAI, use evidence-based CAI interventions that are safe with clients, and the Council on Social Work Education and National Association of Social Work should consider the development of practice and ethical guidelines for the use of CAI in social work practice.