The attitudes toward massage (ATOM) scale: Reliability, validity, and associated findings

Christopher A. Moyer, James Rounds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the key role of attitudes in guiding behavior, no systematic examination of attitudes toward massage has been conducted and no standard assessments have been created. We developed the attitudes toward massage (ATOM) scale, a nine-item measure of an overall attitude toward massage that includes two distinct subscales assessing the attitudes of Massage as Healthful and Massage as Pleasant. These subscales are reliable (α>.70 and >.80, respectively), covary with major personality traits and dispositional sensitivities, and are positively correlated with broader attitudes toward complementary and alternative medicine. Clinical evidence suggests that these attitudes change in response to receiving massage, though further research is needed. Supplemental items administered with the ATOM illustrate a general preference for female massage therapists while also showing this preference to be stronger in men. Attitudes pertaining to massage and sexual arousal, which may stand in the way of trying massage for some persons, are also examined. With or without the supplemental items, the ATOM scale is an easily administered measure for assessing attitudes toward massage that can be used in research or practice settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-33
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Attitudes
  • Massage
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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