Osteopathy students profile in Italy: a cross sectional census

Giacomo Consorti, Donatella Bagagiolo, Andrea Buscemi, Luca Cicchitti, Michela Persiani, Andrea Bergna, on behalf of OSA Group

PLoS ONE, 24 Febbraio 2021

LINK: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0247405

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

The Osteopathy Students Analysis (OSA) aims to profile osteopathy students in Italy as a target population in terms of sociodemographic characteristics, geographical distribution, health status, and previous and ongoing education specifications.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The OSA used a cross-sectional design. A Web-based survey was distributed to the Italian Osteopathic Education Institutions (OEIs). The OSA survey was composed of items organised into four sections: 1. Sociodemographic characteristics (11 items); 2. Geographical distribution (5 items); 3. Health status (3 items); 4. Previous and ongoing education specifications (16 items). A descriptive sample population analysis was performed. Dichotomous and categorical variables were presented as frequencies and percentages, and continuous variables were displayed as means and standard deviations. Some variables were analysed using a pentenary distribution

RESULTS

49 out of the 61 OEIs identified matched the inclusion criteria, and among these, 22 accepted to propose the enrolment of their students into the study. The survey was administered to 4,720 students from all the participant OEIs. A total of 3,762 students responded to the survey, accounting for an estimated response rate of 53.7%. The majority of respondents were men (54%), with an average age of 26.9 ± 6.5 years. Almost the totality of the sample was composed of the European ethnic group (99.1%). Respondents were predominantly born in Italy (97.2%). The majority of the sample reported being in good (49.5%) to excellent (38.6%) health. To date, osteopathy students are almost evenly distributed between the two types of curricula (T1 = 46.6%; T2 = 53.4%).

CONCLUSION

The OSA is the first study that aims to profile Italian osteopathy students as a target population in terms of sociodemographic characteristics, geographical distribution, health status, and previous and ongoing education specifications. Future studies should focus on investigating the correlation between the sociodemographic characteristics of students and their academic performance.