Attitudes of medical clerks toward persons with intellectual disabilities.
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OBJECTIVE: To assess the attitudes of upper-year undergraduate medical students (ie, clerks) toward the philosophy of community inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities (ID) according to demographic, personal contact, and training variables. DESIGN: Cross-sectional self-administered survey. SETTING: Clerkship rotations at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont, and the University of Toronto in Ontario in 2006. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 258 clerks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Scores on the Community Living Attitudes Scale-Short Form. RESULTS: There were no differences in the Community Living Attitudes Scale-Short Form subscale scores across categories of demographic characteristics, personal contact, or having received didactic training about ID. Clerks who had seen patients with ID during their medical school training had higher mean sheltering subscale scores than those who had not (3.27 vs 3.07, P = .02). Additional analysis revealed that 88.5% of clerks who had seen patients with ID reported seeing 5 or fewer such patients, and that those who rated the quality of their supervision more positively had higher mean scores on the empowerment subscale and lower mean scores on the sheltering subscale. CONCLUSION: Although specific training has the potential to promote more socially progressive attitudes regarding persons with ID, lower-quality supervision is associated with higher endorsement of items expressing the need to shelter individuals with ID from harm and lower endorsement of items promoting empowerment.
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