The personal dimension of allied health professional identity: A scoping review in health sciences literature

Eline Belgraver, Remco Coppoolse, Lia van Doorn, Cok Bakker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


With a shift in healthcare from diagnosis-centered to human- and interprofessional-centered work, allied health professionals (AHPs) may encounter dilemmas in daily work because of discrepancies between values of learned professional protocols and their personal values, the latter being a component of the personal dimension. The personal dimension can be defined as a set of personal components that have a substantial impact on professional identity. In this study, we aim to improve the understanding of the role played by the personal dimension, by answering the following research question: What is known about the personal dimension of the professional identity of AHPs in (allied) health literature?

In the scoping review, databases, CINAHL, ERIC, Medline, PubMed, and PsychINFO were searched for studies focusing on what is regarded as ‘the personal dimension of professional identity’ of AHPs in the health literature; 81 out of 815 articles were included and analyzed in this scoping review. A varying degree of attention for the personal dimension within the various allied health professions was observed.

After analysis, we introduce the concept of four aspects in the personal dimension of AHPs. We explain how these aspects overlap to some degree and feed into each other. The first aspect encompasses characteristics like gender, age, nationality, and ethnicity. The second aspect consists of the life experiences of the professional. The third involves character traits related to resilience and virtues. The fourth aspect, worldview, is formed by the first three aspects and consists of the core beliefs and values of AHPs, paired with personal norms.

These four aspects are visualized in a conceptual model that aims to make AHPs more aware of their own personal dimension, as well as the personal dimension of their colleagues intra- and interprofessionally. It is recommended that more research be carried out to examine how the personal dimension affects allied health practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-58
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Health Professions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • professional identity
  • Personal dimension
  • values
  • beliefs
  • dilemma
  • allied health professionals –
  • interprofessional care
  • resilience


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