Evidence-based practice: What are dietitians' perceptions, attitudes, and knowledge?

Laura D. Byham-Gray, Judith A. Gilbride, L. Beth Dixon, Frances King Stage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to measure dietitians' perceptions, attitudes, and knowledge of evidence-based practice (PAK score), and to determine whether antecedent factors (eg, sociodemographic characteristics, education and training, professional experiences, and employment setting) predicted PAK score. Design: This cross-sectional, descriptive study used the Dietitian Research Involvement Survey following the Tailored Design Method. Subjects/setting: This study surveyed 500 randomly selected registered dietitians from seven dietetic practice groups of the American Dietetic Association. Statistical analyses performed: Bivariate relationships were examined between antecedent factors and PAK score. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to test whether these factors predicted PAK score. Results: Higher PAK scores were associated with registered dietitians who completed more years of education (r=0.28, P<.0005), had taken a research course (r=0.28, P<.0005), frequently read research articles (r=0.41, P<.0005), earned an advanced-level board certification (r=0.18, P=.004), worked full-time (r=0.26, P<.0005), or belonged to professional organizations (r=0.18, P=.003). The strongest predictors for PAK score were "last time read research" (β=.33, P<.0005), work status (β=.20, P<.0005), level of education (β=.19, P=.001), and association memberships (β=.14, P=.01). Conclusions: Results indicated that dietitians' ability to incorporate an evidence-based approach is largely determined by their education and training, work experience, and professional association involvement. This study identified a need to integrate concepts and principles of evidence-based practice into dietetics curriculums so that practitioners are able to routinely apply research findings to clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1574-1581
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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