Abstract of A. Sinai lecture


A. Sinai1, A. Hassiotis2, A. Strydom2
1 The Kingswood Centre, UK; 2 Department of Mental Health Sciences,
University College London, UK

Background: It is increasingly recognised that people with intellectual
disabilities have poorer access to health care. One of the
recommendations from a national inquiry in 2008 was compulsory
undergraduate medical teaching about people with intellectual
disabilities. Aim: This study aims to evaluate the attitudes of medical
students towards people with intellectual disabilities. We hypothesised
that knowledge and attitude will change over the course of a fourteen
week Neurosciences block, which included a taught intellectual
disabilities module and opportunity to undertake a clinical placement.
Method: We conducted a naturalistic prospective study. Participants
were medical students at University College London Medical School,
part of the University of London. Data was collected at the beginning
and at the end of each of the three fourteen week Neurosciences
blocks during the year. Attitude was measured using a self-report
questionnaire, including an amended short form of the Community
Living Attitudes Scale (CLAS). Results: 136 students completed the
questionnaire at the beginning and 133 at the end of the block. By the
end of the block, medical students had increased knowledge of
intellectual disability. Medical students showed generally favourable
attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities but there was no
significant change in attitude. Conclusion: This study contributes to
thinking about teaching medical students about people with intellectual
disabilities within an established psychiatric curriculum. Medical
educators, alongside many others, play an important role in
influencing attitude towards people with intellectual disabilities.
Attitude may be subtle and difficult to measure or to change but is
nonetheless important.

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