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The dilemma of osteopathic physicians and the rationalization of medical practice

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Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

Soc Sci Med. 1987;25(10):1111-20. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(87)90352-2.

Authors:

D L Eckberg

Abstract.

Years ago, Peter New observed that osteopathic medical students faced a dilemma concerning their identity. On the one hand, they wished to be considered complete medical practitioners. On the other hand, they wished to be seen as different from MDs. There is evidence that osteopathic physicians continue to face that dilemma. I hypothesize that in part this stems from a conflict between classical 'lifestyle commitments' of the osteopathic community (e.g. toward general practice, osteopathic manipulative therapy, holism) and the rationalized model of medicine practiced by MDs (characterized by specialization and scientific elitism). Results of a survey of a local population of osteopathic physicians generally confirm this. Specific findings are that (1) classical elements of osteopathic commitment are not tied to commitment to the profession in general, (2) there appears to be a waning of commitment to general practice, (3) an increasing number of osteopathic physicians used the DO degree as a 'back door' into medicine and are less likely to identify with classical osteopathic norms, and (4) DOs from socially conservative backgrounds are more likely than others to maintain commitment to the classical elements of osteopathic practice.

Publication Date: 

1987 Jan

OEID: 

737

Eckberg, LD. (1987) 'The dilemma of osteopathic physicians and the rationalization of medical practice ', Soc Sci Med. 1987;25(10):1111-20. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(87)90352-2.

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