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Introduction: A hallmark of interprofessional teams is the ability to deal with conflict, thus, a fundamental component of interprofessional education is the ability to address and resolve conflict. This pilot study investigated the association between an interprofessional education and collaborative practice (IPECP) experience and the conflict handling modes of students from five health professions programs.

Methods: The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) was used to assess 88 IPECP health professions students (health management=9; nursing=19; pharmacy=36; physical therapy=12; and optometry=12). Pre- and post-intervention changes in student TKI percentiles were evaluated using paired t-tests and one-way ANCOVA. IBM SPSS 22 was used for statistical analyses with .05 as cutoff value for significance.

Results: After the IPECP intervention, in aggregate, participants were less likely to prefer avoiding as a means of handling conflict (t(87) = 3.43, p = .001). Using a one-way ANCOVA, degree program, (p = .016) and gender (p = .008) were significantly associated with changes in compromising handling mode percentile scores.

Discussion: The decrease in the avoiding percentile suggests that, post-intervention, students were more willing to engage in conflict, thus, increasing their overall preference for the more assertive and cooperative dimensions of the TKI model.

Conclusion: Though results are preliminary, they suggest that an interactive and patient-centered IPECP may be associated with the development of effective conflict handling skills among health professions students.

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests