Medical and Nursing Students' Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Violence Against Women in India
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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to explore the knowledge and attitudes towards violence against women among fourth (final) year baccalaureate nursing students and fifth (final) year medical students from two distinct educational institutions in India. METHODS: Data were collected from 440 students using two questionnaires: the Student Exposure to Woman Abuse Questionnaire (SEWAQ), and the Inventory of Beliefs about Wife Beating (IBWB). Results were analysed based on gender, profession, and educational institution. FINDINGS: Nursing students believed that they had received more classroom preparation and practical skills to better prepare them to assist abused clients than male and female medical students. Only 38% of the participants believed that they had acquired classroom knowledge on woman abuse through their respective educational programs, whereas 43% thought they had practical skills to care for victims. All participants were sympathetic toward abuse victims, but demonstrated varying attitudes about the justification for abuse against women, help given to victims, punishment of the offender and the effect of woman abuse. Female medical students believed more strongly than males and nursing students that wives do not gain from being beaten. CONCLUSIONS: Congruent with existing literature, the study demonstrated that health care students in India do not receive sufficient training, practical skills and classroom knowledge to effectively manage abuse against women.
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