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Ambul Pediatr. 2004 Jan-Feb;4(1):24-7.

Pediatric residency training on domestic violence: a national survey.

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  • 1Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, PA, USA.



Between 3.3 and 10 million children witness domestic violence (DV) each year. These children are at risk for both emotional and behavioral problems. In 1998, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines for pediatricians to screen for DV and for residency programs to include DV education. Prior studies have assessed practicing pediatricians' DV screening habits. This study was designed to assess chief residents' attitudes and training regarding DV screening.


A 53-question survey regarding residents' attitudes and training surrounding DV was mailed to the chief residents of all 194 nonmilitary US pediatric residency programs. Descriptive and inferential analyses were performed.


Sixty-eight percent of surveys were returned. Sixty-eight percent of respondents were female. Although 93% of chief residents felt that pediatricians should screen for DV, only 21% screen every patient. Only 24% agreed or strongly agreed that they felt experienced in handling DV cases. Although 60% of respondents say that they received 11 or more hours of residency training in how to handle child abuse, the majority (80%) received 4 hours or less of DV training. Seventy-one percent agreed or strongly agreed that pediatricians do not screen secondary to lack of training.


Pediatric chief residents believe that DV is a significant pediatric health problem. However, screening practices are variable. Most chief residents feel that their training was not sufficient to make them comfortable screening for DV. Chief residents demonstrated openness to incorporating DV training into their programs, indicating a positive environment for DV curricula.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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