Document Type : Research Article (s)
Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Background: Child abuse causes serious mental, physical, and social problems, and it is considered as a universal problem occurring in every society. Pediatricians are often the first professionals who see the children with symptoms of child abuse; thus, they must play a crucial role in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of child abuse. This study evaluated pediatric residents’ knowledge and attitudes towards this issue.
Methods: This cross-sectional descriptive study was performed to describe the knowledge and attitudes of pediatric residents toward child abuse. Eighty-one out of all pediatric residents of (n = 121) Shiraz University of Medical Sciences were enrolled (using the census sampling method). The data were collected by using a questionnaire, the validity and reliability of which were confirmed by experts in the field of pediatrics and medical ethics. The questionnaire consisted of three parts, including demographic information, questions about the knowledge of participants, and queries which were designed to assess the participants’ attitude toward child abuse. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for analyzing the data.
Results: The pediatric residents had “good” knowledge with a mean score of 57.48 ± 6.46 (score range: 23 to 69) and “moderate” attitudes with a mean score of 54 ± 7.73 (score range: 16 to 80) toward child abuse, although they did not recognize some of the most important risk factors and symptoms. No relationship was confirmed between gender, age, academic level, and previous source of information and knowledge or attitudes (P > 0.05).
Conclusions: Pediatricians serve an important role in reducing the rate of child abuse. However, a large proportion of the respondents did not recognize some of the most important risk factors and symptoms regarding suspected cases of abuse in their practice. Thus, they need more specific training and support to increase their competence with better case identification and report.