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Acad Med. 1999 Jul;74(7):821-8.

The effect of a domestic violence interclerkship on the knowledge, attitudes, and skills of third-year medical students.

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Department of Physiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA.



To determine whether participation in an intensive domestic violence interclerkship (DVI) improved the knowledge, attitudes, and skills of two successive cohorts of students at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


The authors measured the knowledge, attitudes, and skills pertaining to domestic violence of third-year students in the classes of 1997 and 1998 using a validated written examination administered before, immediately after, and six months after participation in a 3.5-day or two-day DVI, respectively; they compared the scores using paired t-tests. Nine months after the DVI, the students' domestic violence screening skills were measured by a performance-based assessment (OSCE); using unpaired t-tests, the authors compared the OSCE scores with those of a previous third-year class that had not participated in a DVI. Immediately after the OSCE, the students reported their levels of confidence in domestic violence screening and their satisfaction with the domestic violence curriculum; using chi-square analysis, those self-reports were compared with those of the class with no DVI.


The students who participated in the DVIs immediately and significantly improved their knowledge, attitudes, and skills (p < .001), and fully or partially sustained those improvements six months later (p < .001). Nine months after the DVI, the students performed domestic violence screening more effectively (p < .001), expressed greater comfort with domestic violence screening (p < .001), and felt better-prepared by the curriculum to address domestic violence issues (p < .001) than did the students with no DVI.


Participation in a short, focused DVI curriculum produced sustainable improvements in knowledge, attitudes, and skills that were successfully applied by third-year medical students to effective domestic violence screening. Interclerkships are an effective way to fit into the clinical curriculum those subjects that transcend the traditional biomedical domain and intersect all areas of medical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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