Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type



The purpose of this study was to determine the awareness and knowledge of Celiac Disease/Gluten Intolerance (CD/GI), among clients of a medical facility in the southern portion of the United States. A researcher-designed awareness/knowledge instrument was used to study a random sample of clients of a medical facility. Data were collected from 404 clients at the medical facility. Data collected included whether or not participants were aware of the disease, a 30-item knowledge instrument, and their demographic characteristics. Exploratory factor analysis revealed four identifiable subscales in the knowledge instrument: Symptomology, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Interaction with Other Conditions and Overall Knowledge Score. Multiple Regression analysis was used to determine the amount of variance in the knowledge subscales explained by the demographic characteristics. Results showed that a majority of the participants (53.2%) was unaware of CD/GI. The majority of participants did not know or inaccurately responded to 18 of the 30 statements in the knowledge of CD/GI instrument. Variables related to Awareness included Ethnicity, Marital Status, Highest Level of Education, Annual Family Income, and Physical Examination by their Primary Care Physician (PCP). Variables related to one or more knowledge subscales were Gender, Whether or Not Participants had Children, Highest Level of Education, Physical Examination by their PCP, and Distance Traveled from Home to Medical Facility. The variances explained in the knowledge subscale scores and the overall knowledge score from selected demographic variables ranged from 18.2%-22.4%. It was concluded from the study that there is a lack of awareness and minimal knowledge of CD/GI among the clients of the medical facility. Also, knowledge of CD/GI is a multi-factor concept which offers future research and application opportunities. Recommendations included research on designing and implementing more robust knowledge assessment instruments, education and publicity programs to increase awareness of CD/GI among the general public and enabling physicians to improve their diagnostic skills. The study was considered significant because the results could enable medical and health professionals and nonprofit organizations to direct their education and research efforts to address the many issues that arise from the disease, from heightening awareness, to amelioration, to treatment, to drug therapy.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Burnett, Michael