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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A survey of the relationship of dietitians’ future intentions to participate and their past continuing education activity Zibrik, Deborah A.


The dietetics profession has been among the leaders in the professions in its commitment to the concept of life-long learning. This research was designed to investigate the intentions of dietitians to participate in continuing education. During the Spring of 1981 a questionnaire designed to investigate attitudes and expectations toward participation in continuing education was mailed to all members of the British Columbia Dietitians' and Nutritionists' Association (BCDNA). From the completed questionnaires three determinants of intentions to participate (i.e. attitudes (Ag), subjective social normative (SSN) beliefs, and subjective personal normative (SPN.) beliefs) and their relationships to past participation in continuing education were characterized. The subjective social normative (SSN) belief factor was the single best indicator of past participation in continuing education. Essentially this finding suggests that a stated commitment to continuing one's education was the single best indicator of past participation by this group of health professionals. When the two normative belief factors and the attitudinal variable were combined with selected socioeconomic variables in regression with past participation, a total of 7% of the variance in past participation could be accounted for. This represented a doubling of the amount of variation in past participation accounted for when the ten socioeconomic variables as a group, or the determinants of intentions as a group were analyzed by multiple regression. This research indicates that leaders of the professional association are influential in shaping the intentions of dietitians to engage in continuing education. The majority of respondents valued the opinions of others regarding participation in continuing education. Very few of the socioeconomic characteristics were related to past participation, and the attitudinal and normative belief factors offered a greater account for the variance in past participation than the socioeconomic variables. These findings are of interest to researchers investigating participation phenomena.

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