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Open access

Biljana Stern, Gregor Socan, Ksenija Rener-Sitar, Andreja Kukec and Lijana Zaletel-Kragelj

Abstract

Aim

To validate the Slovenian version (SOC-13-SVN) of Sense of Coherence 13-item instrument (SOC-13) in Slovenian multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

Methods

A consecutive 134 Slovenian MS patients were enrolled in a cross-sectional study in 2013. The reliability of the SOC-13-SVN was assessed for internal consistency by Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (α), dimensionality by the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), and criterion validity by Pearson correlation coefficient (r) between SOC-13-SVN global score and MSQOL-54 composite scores – Mental Health Composite score (MHC) and Physical Health Composite score (PHC).

Results

For the SOC-13-SVN instrument as a whole, internal consistency was high (αtotal=0.88) while it was low for three subscales (αcomprehensibility=0.79; αmanageability=0.66; αmeaningfulness=0.69). The results of the CFA confirmed a three-factor structure with good fit (RMSEA=0.059, CFI=0.953, SRMR=0.065), however, the correlations between the factors were very high (rcomprehensibility/manageability=0.938; rcomprehensibility/meaningfulness=0.811; rmanageability/meaningfulness=0.930). The criterion validity analysis showed a moderate positive strength of relationship between SOC-13-SVN global score and both MSQOL-54 composite scores (MHC: r=0.597, p<0.001; PHC: r=0.437, p<0.001).

Conclusion

Analysis of some psychometric properties confirmed that this instrument is a reliable and valid tool for use in Slovenian MS patients. Despite the three-dimensional structure of the instrument, the use of the global summary score is encouraged due to the low reliability of the subscale scores and high correlations between them.

Open access

Andrijana Milošević Georgiev, Jelena Kotur-Stevuljević and Dušanka Krajnović

Abstract

Background

Smoking rates in Serbian adults are among the highest in Europe. The objective of this study is to assess the prevalence of smoking and smoking-related behaviours of Belgrade University students depending on their sociodemographic characteristics and faculty group.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was carried out among 2,608 Belgrade University students (59.6% female) in 2015. A self-administered questionnaire was applied to the opportunity sample to collect the data describing students’ smoking habits and attitudes across all 30 faculties of the university.

Results

30.5% of students reported smoking: 26.4% of medical, and 31.1% of non-medical ones. Smoking rate among female students was 31.2% vs. 29.5% among males. Age (p=0.001), relationship (<0.001) and employment status (p=0.002) had statistically significant influence on smoking status, while the differences in smoking status between genders (p=0.141) and medical and non-medical group of students (p=0.066) were not statistically significant. The highest percentage of students started smoking during high school (66.2%). As the most common reason to start smoking, respondents cited peer influence (36.5%). 44.3% of students who smoked unsuccessfully tried to quit smoking.

Conclusion

To combat high smoking prevalence among a younger population, the formal education of students about the adverse impacts of smoking should be integrated in all active anti-smoking programs. Medical students, as future healthcare professionals, can play an important role in smoking rates reduction among both younger and general populations, if properly trained and educated about smoking prevention and cessation techniques.

Open access

Davorina Petek, Ambrož Pušnik, Polona Selič, Eva Cedilnik-Gorup, Žan Trontelj, Marine Riou and Jean Yves Le Reste

Abstract

Introduction

Therapeutic alliance is a term most commonly associated with psychotherapeutic treatment, but recently its use has become increasingly significant in the other fields of medicine. An increasing amount of evidence implies that the quality of the therapeutic alliance between the doctor and patient substantially affects treatment outcomes. A European consensus chose the Working Alliance Inventory – Short Revised (WAI-SR) scale as the most efficient for European primary care. This paper presents the process of establishing the semantic and cultural equivalence of the two WAI-SR scales in Slovene.

Method

As a part of a larger international project, a group of four experts translated the two WAI SR scales (physician and patient versions) from English into Slovene. Twenty-six Slovenian family medicine doctors participated in the process of obtaining semantic, idiomatic, experiential and conceptual equivalence in translation using a Delphi consensus procedure. Afterward, a cultural equivalence was made to adapt the translations within the national context.

Results

Agreement on translation was achieved after two Delphi rounds. The back-translation and cultural equivalence were accomplished without major problems, with some minor additional linguistic corrections.

Conclusion

A Slovene version of the WAI-SR scale was successfully adapted and is available for further scale validation and research on therapeutic alliance.

Open access

Ana Cristina Ferrão, Paula Correia, Manuela Ferreira and Raquel P. F. Guiné

Abstract

Introduction

A healthy diet is crucial for the maintenance of health. Therefore, the aim of this work is to evaluate the perceptions towards a healthy diet among the participants with work or studies in areas related to diet and nutrition and those who did not.

Methods

Anonymous questionnaire data was collected in a cross-sectional study on a non-probabilistic sample of 902 participants living in Portugal.

Results

The results showed that the participants’ perceptions were, in general, compliant with a healthy diet. However, significant differences were found between gender (p=0.004), between the different civil state groups (p=0.016), between the participants who were responsible for buying their own food and those who were not and also regarding the living environment. The variable area of work or studies also showed significant differences (p=0.001), so that people who had work or studies related to agriculture obtained a higher score. Regarding this variable, the mean values of nutrition and agriculture areas were not statistically different between them, but were statistically different from the mean values of psychology and health areas. The participants who had work or studies in areas showing diet and nutrition-related issues achieved a higher mean score (0.72±0.35) when compared to the participants who did not (0.58±0.30).

Conclusion

However, despite the results, it is important to continue developing campaigns that better communicate nutritional aspects, so that people can increase their knowledge on this subject.

Open access

Kastytis Šmigelskas, Justė Lukoševičiūtė, Tomas Vaičiūnas, Kristina Mozūraitytė, Urtė Ivanavičiūtė, Ieva Milevičiūtė and Monika Žemaitaitytė

Abstract

Introduction

Electronic survey mode has become a more common tool of research than it used to be previously. This is strongly associated with the overall digitization of modern society. However, the evidence on the possible mode effect on study results has been scarce. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the comparability of findings on health and behaviours using a paper-versus-electronic mode of survey with randomization design among schoolchildren.

Methods

A randomized study was conducted using a mandatory questionnaire on international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study in Lithuania, enrolling 531 schoolchildren aged 11–15 years. The questionnaire included health and social topics about physical activity, risk behaviours, self-reported health and symptoms, life satisfaction, bullying, fighting, family and school environment, peer relationships, electronic media communication, sociodemographic indicators, etc. The schoolchildren within classes were randomly selected for electronic or paper mode.

Results

It was found that by study mode differences are inconsistent and in the majority of cases do not exceed 5%-point difference between the modes. The only significant difference was that in the paper survey the participants reported more exercise than in the electronic survey (OR=8.08, P<.001). Other trends were nonsignificant and did not show a consistent pattern – in certain behaviours the paper mode was related to healthier choices, while in others - the electronic.

Conclusions

The use of electronic questionnaires in surveys of schoolchildren may provide findings that are comparable with concurrent or previously conducted paper surveys.

Open access

Veronika Učakar and Alenka Kraigher

Abstract

Introduction

Vaccination against seasonal influenza is recommended for all healthcare workers including physicians in Slovenia to protect vulnerable individuals and reduce transmission of influenza viruses. The aim of our study is to determine the uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination among Slovenian physicians, to identify factors associated with that vaccination and assess their attitudes and beliefs regarding vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was performed among physician members of the Slovenian Medical Chamber. The link to the anonymous web-based questionnaire was sent to 8,297 physicians. We estimated the overall proportion of physicians who vaccinate against influenza, while the possible associations with collected explanatory variables were explored in univariate analyses.

Results

The response rate to the survey was 10.8%. 75.9% (95% CI: 73.1–78.7%) physicians vaccinate themselves against influenza (regularly or occasionally) and 24.1% (95% CI: 21.2–26.8%) do not vaccinate (not any more or never). In univariate analysis only, the area of work was statistically significant when associated with vaccinating against influenza (p=0.002). Among physicians who expressed some misconceptions regarding vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases (it is better to overcome disease naturally as vaccines pose a higher risk than disease) the proportion of vaccinated against influenza was low (43.2%; 95% CI: 27.9–58.4%, 27.3%; 95% CI: 7.1–47.5%).

Conclusion

Not trusting in vaccination or professional recommendations regarding vaccination and some misconceptions regarding vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases may influence the decision to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza among Slovenian physicians.

Open access

Claudia-Mariana Handra, Eugenia Naghi and Marina Ruxandra Oțelea

Abstract

Context. Stress is a complex psychosocial phenomenon that significantly influences health. The individual differences in stress response depend on sensitivity to stressors, named “stress vulnerability”.

Objectives. The aims of the study were to determine the level of perceived vulnerability to stress and compare stress vulnerability among students from 2 universities in Bucharest: University of Medicine “Carol Davila” and National University of Political Studies and Public Administration.

Methods. An approximately equal number of students from the two selected universities completed the Romanian version of the Miller-Smith stress vulnerability questionnaire.

Results. A number of 86 (60 women and 26 men) students agreed to participate. Average age was 23.56 years with a standard deviation of 4.86 years. The high vulnerability group included 18 (38%) medical students and 27 (60%) political science and public administration students. The difference was statistically significant (chi2 test, p=0.02) between the two groups. The average health score for medical students (MS) was 15.97, with a median of 15, while for the political science and administration students (PSPAS) the average health score was 24.91, with a median of 26. The average psychosocial score for MS group was 20.41 and the median was 20. In the PSAPS group, the psychosocial score was 26.14 and the median 24. The difference was statistically significant for both health score (p<0.00001) and psychosocial score (p=0.0006).

Conclusions: Stress is a common problem among undergraduated students. In this study the vulnerability to stress was higher for students PSAPS group compared to the students from MS group.

Open access

Bogdan-Alexandru Barbu, Zizi Niculescu and Laura-Georgiana Moise

Abstract

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a complex syndrome consisting of non-specific symptoms with an onset associated with subjects’ presence in some modern building and the disappearance of symptoms shortly after they leave it. The effects of SBS may be the result of a series of protective reactions of the human body triggered by various types of surrounding environment, further suggesting that the human response could be based on a three-phase biological model: sensory perception, low degree inflammatory reactions and environmental stress reactions. Besides stress created by the discomfort of people who develop symptoms, SBS is the cause of an extensive loss of productivity, sickness absenteeism, wasted time in complaints with all the legal punitive issues that arise from them. The subjects diagnosed with SBS are hard to follow-up over time due to workers often leaving their jobs and being lost from cohort databases. Achieving a reputation of a “sick building” may prove difficult to rehabilitate even after expensive repairs and upgrades. In extreme cases closure and even demolition can occur. SBS is an evolving concept and this review we will present part of this evolution and what are the major challenges for its definition.

Open access

Mihaela Trenchea, Agripina Rașcu and Oana-Cristina Arghir

Abstract

Over the last thirty years, the pathogenesis of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) has begun to be elucidated worldwide due to the presence of standardized diagnostic and treatment. In adults, the clinical diagnosis may be suggestive of OSAS when symptoms like fatigue, lack of concentration, poor work performance, absenteeism, daytime sleepiness, insomnia, snoring, nocturnal respiratory distress or apnea episodes witnessed by others are present. Some medical conditions found in employees’ personal history such as craniofacial abnormalities, some endocrine diseases, arterial hypertension, especially resistant arterial hypertension, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, stroke, obesity, diabetes mellitus, cognitive dysfunction or mental disorders may be the alarm signal for OSAS. The assessment of all risk factors, clinical presentation and diagnosis must become an important part of occupational medical examinations and performed in all workers due to its major public health potential and impact on survival. The early identification of OSAS among workers performed by the occupational physician can potentially reduce the risk of work injuries and fatalities. In conclusion, OSAS is a complex entity and an important public health problem. The delay in diagnosis and treatment contributes to the increase of healthcare services demand and implicitly to general mortality.