Astri Parawita Ayu, Boukje Dijkstra, Milou Golbach, Cor De Jong, & Arnt Schellekens
Background: Addiction, or substance dependence, is nowadays considered a chronic relapsing condition. However, perceptions of addiction vary widely, also among healthcare professionals. Perceptions of addiction are thought to contribute to attitude and stigma towards patients with addiction. However, studies into perceptions of addiction among healthcare professionals are limited and instruments for reliable assessment of their perceptions are lacking. The Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ) is widely used to evaluate perceptions of illness. The aim of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the IPQ: factor structure, internal consistency, and discriminant validity, when applied to evaluate healthcare professionals' perceptions of addiction. Methods: Participants were 1072 healthcare professionals in training and master students from the Netherlands and Indonesia, recruited from various addiction-training programs. The revised version of the IPQ was adapted to measure perceptions of addiction (IPQA). Maximum likelihood method was used to explore the best-fit IPQ factor structure. Internal consistency was evaluated for the final factors. The final factor structure was used to assess discriminant validity of the IPQ, by comparing illness perceptions of addiction between 1) medical students from the Netherlands and Indonesia, 2) medical students psychology students and educational science students from the Netherlands, and 3) participants with different training levels: medical students versus medical doctors. Results: Factor analysis revealed an eight-factor structure for the perception subscale (demoralization, timeline chronic, consequences, personal control, treatment control, illness coherence, timeline cyclical emotional representations) and a four-factor structure for the attribution subscale (psychological attributions, risk factors, smoking/alcohol, overwork). Internal reliability was acceptable to good. The IPQ-A was able to detect differences in perceptions between healthcare professionals from different cultural and educational background and level of training. Conclusions: The IPQ-A is a valid and reliable instrument to assess healthcare professionals' perceptions of addiction.