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Medical students' attitudes towards people with dementia: an international investigation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ellen Tullo, Professor Tony Young



Background The changing demographics of societies mean that medical students worldwide must be sufficiently prepared to care competently for patients with dementia through development of appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes. No previous research had explored undergraduate medical students’ attitudes toward people with dementia. Methods An adapted version of the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire (ADQ) was completed by 501 medical undergraduates in years 1, 3 and 5 of their degree programmes in the UK and Malaysia. Non-parametric statistical analysis focused on any differences between year groups and geographical locations. Results The mean ADQ response indicated a generally positive attitude across the sample, comparable with other healthcare professionals previously surveyed. Year 3 and year 5 students expressed significantly more positive attitudes than year 1s. Year 1 students based in the UK expressed significantly more positive attitudes than year 1 student based in Malaysia, but there were no significant differences between year 3 students based in different locations. Conclusion The more positive attitudes found amongst year 3 and year 5 students compared to year 1 may be a result of teaching emphasising a person-centred approach. The differences between entry-level students from Malaysia and the UK may reflect variance in cultural norms and expectations, or the ADQ’s “Western” origin. Medical schools aiming to equip students with dementia-specific skills and knowledge can draw on the generally positive attitudes found in this study.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tullo ES, Young TJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Psychogeriatrics

Year: 2014

Volume: 26

Issue: 01

Pages: 165-171

Print publication date: 01/01/2014

Online publication date: 18/10/2013

Acceptance date: 16/09/2013

Date deposited: 24/09/2013

ISSN (print): 1041-6102

ISSN (electronic): 1741-203X

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1041610213001737


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