Knowledge and attitudes of primary care physicians regarding battered women. Comparison between specialists in family medicine and GPs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. Domestic violence is a widespread public health problem and an important part of primary care practice. Objective. To evaluate the approach of primary care physicians (family physicians and GPs) to the care of battered women. Methods. A self-report questionnaire containing items about experience, knowledge and attitudes regarding the care of battered women was mailed to a random sample of 300 primary care physicians employed by the two major health management organizations in Israel. The population included family physicians, who have 4 years of residency training in primary care, and GPs, who do not undergo specialization after completing their medical studies. Results. A total of 236 physicians (130 family physicians and 106 GPs) responded. In general, the physicians had had very little exposure to the problem and estimated its prevalence in the community as less than half that indicated in the medical literature. Compared with the GPs, however, the family physicians reported more exposure to the subject (P < 0.001) and had better knowledge of its prevalence and risk factors (P < 0.001). They also showed a greater tendency to view the problem as universal (P < 0.05) and as part of their professional responsibilities. However, both groups tended not to include the care of battered women with no physical injury within their professional duties. Conclusions. Physicians should be made more aware of the problem of battered women within the context of their routine professional practice and of the importance of keeping abreast of the subject. Educators should place more emphasis on imparting knowledge and skills in the management of battered women, especially for GPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-9
Number of pages5
JournalFamily Practice
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Battered women
  • Domestic violence
  • Ethics
  • Family physicians
  • Feelings

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