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J Clin Pediatr Dent. 1997 Fall;22(1):23-7.

Child abuse: attitudes and perceptions of health profession students--a pilot study.

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  • 1Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Tufts School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.


Child abuse and neglect is a serious social problem with global dimensions. The purpose of this study was to assess attitudes and perceptions of students of medicine, dentistry and public health at three Boston institutions about child abuse and neglect issues that they may encounter in their future professional lives. Among others, we investigated how participants rank the public health importance of child abuse and neglect in comparison with violent acts against other social groups, their willingness to report it and their potential interest to supplement their knowledge with additional course work. Two hundred and fourteen students participated in the study by completing our questionnaire. The results of the statistical analyses indicate that child abuse is considered the most serious problem, followed by domestic violence, child neglect and abuse of the handicapped and the elderly. We also documented that a significant educational need exists in this group, regarding diagnostic methods and interventions aimed to reduce the incidence and the impact of violence or neglect against children.

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