Perceptions of speech and language therapy amongst UK school and college students: implications for recruitment

Greenwood, Nan, Wright, Jannet A. and Bithell, Christine (2006) Perceptions of speech and language therapy amongst UK school and college students: implications for recruitment. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 41(1), pp. 83-94. ISSN (print) 1368-2822

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BACKGROUND: Communication disorders affect both sexes and people from all ethnic groups, but members of minority ethnic groups and males in the UK are underrepresented in the speech and language therapy profession. Research in the area of recruitment is limited, but a possible explanation is poor awareness and understanding of speech and language therapy as a profession. AIMS: To investigate factors influencing attitudes to a career in speech and language therapy amongst UK school and college students focusing on the similarities and differences between males and females, and between minority ethnic and white students. METHODS & PROCEDURES: A total of 651 male and female school and college students from a range of ethnic groups and all close to selecting degree courses completed a questionnaire designed to examine the attitudes and awareness of speech and language therapy. Eleven semi-structured follow-up interviews were conducted to help understand the questionnaire findings. Quantitative and qualitative analyses examined differences in attitudes and the awareness of speech and language therapy amongst these groups. OUTCOMES & RESULTS: Overall, one-third of participants said they knew nothing about speech and language therapy, and males were significantly less familiar with it. Less than half the participants were aware that speech and language therapy is a degree course, and minority ethnic participants were significantly less likely to know this. Compared with males, females were almost five times as likely to say they would consider a career in speech and language therapy. Participants with relatives in health-related jobs were significantly more likely to consider speech and language therapy than those without such relatives. Compared with white participants, minority ethnic participants said they placed greater importance on studying for a degree, a profession and a scientific career, and were more influenced by a career's prestige and a high salary. CONCLUSIONS: In order to increase the ethnic and gender diversity of speech and language therapists, the profile of the profession needs to be raised with increased awareness of the degree level courses, the scientific, evidence-based nature of the work, and current salary scales.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: recruitment, ethnicity, gender
Research Area: Allied health professions and studies
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences (until 2013)
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Depositing User: Mark Brennan
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2008
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2010 13:58

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