Date of Conferral







Alethea Baker


Palliative care provides multidisciplinary treatment of the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs of patients and families with serious illnesses. Alaska has the highest per capita rates of serious illnesses in the United States, but many Alaskans lack access to palliative care. Using Engel’s biopsychosocial model of care, Saunders’ total pain theory, and Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy, the purpose of this study was to assess the role of physicians regarding palliative care access in Alaska. This quantitative multivariable regression analysis examined the relationship between 133 Alaskan physicians’ knowledge and attitudes (independent variables) and their behaviors (dependent variable) regarding palliative care; and urban and rural (independent variables) physicians’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors (dependent variables) regarding palliative care. Combining 3 validated, reliable scales into 1 survey, the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors Regarding Palliative Care Survey, findings showed a statistically significant relationship between physicians’ attitudes and behaviors regarding palliative care and no significant correlation between their knowledge and behaviors regarding palliative care and their knowledge and attitudes regarding palliative care. Findings also showed a statistically significant difference between the urban and rural physicians: regarding palliative care, urban physicians scored higher in attitudes, whereas rural physicians scored higher in behaviors. Aligning attitudes and behaviors with knowledge of palliative care will enhance physicians’ self-efficacy in practice, improving the quality of life and perhaps life expectancy of Alaskans with serious illnesses.

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