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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


MENDEZ-HERNANDEZ, Pablo et al. Violence against women: knowledge and attitudes of healthcare providers at the Mexican Institute of Social Security in Morelos, Mexico. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2003, vol.45, n.6, pp.473-482. ISSN 0036-3634.

OBJECTIVE: To asses the affective, cognitive, and behavioral attitudes of healthcare providers at the Mexican Institute of Social Security (MISS) in Morelos, Mexico; to identify the institutional and medical practice barriers that hinder screening and reference of battered women. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted between September and December 1999. A self-administered questionnaire was applied to 269 general practitioners, specialists, and pre- and postdoctoral students working in 30 primary and secondary level of healthcare units in Morelos State. The data collection instrument was designed to assess healthcare providers' knowledge of and attitudes towards domestic violence during medical office visits. A knowledge index was constructed and analyzed using multivariate regression methods. RESULTS: Ninety percent of healthcare providers had never received training on violence against women. Healthcare providers' affective and cognitive attitudes after receiving training on the subject matter were more favorable compared to those with no training. Favorable attitudes were directly related to the number of training sessions. Most participants (63%) showed a moderate degree of knowledge on the subject, whereas 21% were slightly knowledgeable and 16% were highly knowledgeable. Medical personnel with a moderate or high level of knowledge were 2.1 and 6 times more likely, respectively, to have favorable attitudes than those with a low degree of knowledge. Female physicians showed more favorable attitudes towards identifying and referring battered women. Medical personnel interested in further training on the subject of violence against women were 7.6 times more likely to show favorable attitudes than personnel not interested on the subject. CONCLUSIONS: Healthcare providers were not sufficiently able to assess and manage battered women. General and family practitioners were more interested in being trained, as compared with specialist physicians. Training on violence against women should be included in graduate medical, nursing, social service, psychology, and other public health areas.

Keywords : battered women; domestic violence; attitudes; awareness; physicians; Mexico.

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