Document Type

Article

Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) may affect one to four million individuals per year in the United States, with women accounting for the majority of both reported and unreported cases. Dental professionals are in a unique position to identify many types of IPV because injuries to the head and neck may be indicators or predictors of IPV abuse. Fewer than half of dental programs surveyed have reported having IPV-specific curricula, and most dental students surveyed have reported having little experience or training to recognize IPV. Based on this information, this pilot study sought to assess the awareness and beliefs regarding IPV among first-year dental students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Using a voluntary survey, followed by a one-hour educational seminar facilitated by an experienced IPV/domestic violence advocate, a post-seminar survey was administered to assess changes in student perceptions and beliefs and to determine the magnitude and direction of any changes. The survey had an 81.25 percent response rate (65/80). The results demonstrated that more than two-thirds of the students had no previous IPV-specific education. In addition, approximately half of these students began the educational session reporting they did not believe IPV was a health care issue, although the overwhelming majority had decided it was when surveyed after the seminar. Moreover, their perceptions and beliefs about the responsibilities of the dental professional, as well as knowledge about resources and available support services, were significantly changed. These results suggest that targeted, information-specific seminars may be sufficient to provide dental students with an understanding of the key issues regarding IPV. With this knowledge, they can better provide specific information about resources and referrals for services to their patients who have experienced IPV. Recommendations based on these findings are being used to develop and refine IPV-specific curricula at this institution, which may be of significant value to other dental schools with plans to develop and integrate this material into their programs.

Disciplines

Community-Based Research | Dentistry | Family, Life Course, and Society | Medicine and Health | Medicine and Health Sciences | Social Psychology and Interaction

Permissions

Copyright American Dental Association. Used with permission.