Knowledge, attitudes, and practices of primary health care physicians, junior doctors, and medical college students towards autism in Duhok, Iraq
Background and objective: The knowledge of autism spectrum disorder among physicians and medical students is limited. This study aimed to find out the level of knowledge, attitudes, and practices of primary health care physicians, junior doctors, and 6th year medical college students in Duhok province, Iraqi Kurdistan toward autism spectrum disorder.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out from September 10th until October 30th, 2016. A self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Two hundred and two questionnaires were completed by the three participants’ groups. Data analysis was carried out using the statistical analysis system (SAS, version 9.4).
Results: Of the 202 participants, 24.8% were sixth year medical students, others were junior doctors (35.6%) and primary health care physicians (39.6%). Of them, 51.5% were females and 48.5% were males. High percentages (90.1% and 91.1%) of respondents heard and knew about autism spectrum disorder, respectively. They showed poor information on identification and management. Primary health care physicians had more knowledge on the genetic basis of autism (P <0.001) and behavioral therapy for autism (P = 0.016). No significant differences in knowledge was found between both gender groups except that female participants had limited knowledge on its genetic basis (P = 0.007).
Conclusion: Although primary health care physicians, rotators, and medical students generally heard about autism spectrum disorder, they had limited knowledge of its diagnosis and management. It is recommended to introduce autistic disorders lectures to the medical college curriculum and training of physicians by experienced professionals.
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