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South Med J. 1989 Mar;82(3):281-6.

Reporting of child abuse: influence of characteristics of physician, practice, and community.

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Department of Psychiatry, College of Community Health Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa 35487.


This survey of 120 Alabama pediatricians, family physicians, and general practitioners investigated the relationship between physician, practice, and community characteristics and the factors that impede reporting of detected child abuse. Solo practitioners and rural physicians were most concerned about the effect of reporting on their relationship with their patients. Small town physicians, recent medical school graduates, and physicians who had attended child abuse workshops were most likely, and urban physicians least likely, to endorse an ethical or legal responsibility to report. Attendees of workshops were more confident in their ability to recognize abuse and less likely to think they could best handle the case themselves. Male physicians were reluctant to report because of the likelihood of having to appear in court. All physicians were reluctant to report cases about which they were uncertain and were concerned about the lack of prompt action after their reports; general practitioners expressed reluctance to report due to a wide variety of factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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