Primary Article

Domestic Violence Awareness in a Medical School Class: 2-Year Follow-up

Authors: AMY A. ERNST, MD, DEBRA HOURY, MPH, MD, STEVEN J. WEISS, MS, MD, HAROLD SZERLIP, MD

Abstract

Background.Previous studies have examined short-term effectiveness of domestic violence instruction. We studied the long-term effectiveness (LTE) and long-term retention (LTR) of formal instruction about domestic violence. Methods.A general knowledge survey on domestic violence was given before, 1 month after, and 2 years after 3 hours of instruction to medical students. Good LTE was defined as significant improvement in responses between the first and third surveys. Good LTR was defined as lack of a significant decrease in results between the second and third surveys. Results.Two years after the instruction, 104 of 148 (70%) participated. Knowledge of rates of domestic violence against women showed neither good LTE nor good LTR. Responses showed good LTE and LTR concerning domestic violence incidence among men, ethnic and socioeconomic groups being equally represented, victims not being personally responsible for the abuse, and physicians not being required to report domestic violence in the survey state. Responses showed poor LTR and LTE regarding rates of domestic violence in women and abused persons being unable to simply leave their situation. Conclusions.Some improvement in domestic violence awareness was seen 2 years after instruction. However, some information was not retained. Domestic violence instruction should be reemphasized throughout medical school.

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