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Teach Learn Med. 2010 Jan;22(1):37-44. doi: 10.1080/10401330903446321.

The effect of lecture and a standardized patient encounter on medical student rape myth acceptance and attitudes toward screening patients for a history of sexual assault.

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  • 1College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.



Most physicians fail to routinely screen patients for a history of sexual assault.


This study aimed to gauge medical student support for routinely screening patients for a history of sexual assault, examine potential barriers to screening, and determine if attitudes can be changed through educational interventions.


One hundred three 2nd-year medical students completed a survey before and after a lecture on sexual assault (response rate = 94/103 and 90/103, respectively). The questionnaire was administered a third time following a standardized patient encounter with a female rape victim (response rate = 102/103).


Most medical students agreed that patients should be screened for sexual victimization. Students showed low levels of rape myth acceptance. Agreement with rape myths correlated with increased screening hesitancy. Statistically significant gender differences were observed. Following educational sessions, students expressed less rape myth acceptance and more comfort screening.


Sexual assault education can diminish rape myth acceptance and promote screening for sexual assault.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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