Knowledge and Attitudes toward Dementia among Undergraduate Health Professional Students in China: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Anhong Dong, Guilan Gong, Elizabeth Reifsnider, Sha Huang, Zeyu Zhang, Jing Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Phenomenon: Dementia is a huge burden to the economic and health care system in China. As the next generation of health care providers, undergraduate health professional students play a pivotal role in caring for dementia patients during their clinical placements and in independent practice. Nevertheless, they may not be adequately prepared to care for patients with dementia by their undergraduate programs. Measuring the knowledge and attitudes of health professional students could be an important step in providing evidence regarding the need to enhance dementia care training in the curriculum. Approach: Responses from 325 Chinese health professional (nursing, medical, and public health) students were included in the analyses. After providing informed consent, students answered questionnaires including a demographic data questionnaire, the Alzheimer’s Disease Knowledge Scale (ADKS) and the Dementia Attitudes Scale (DAS). Univariate analyses were performed to test the association between outcomes and potential explanatory variables. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine the predictive factors for knowledge and attitudes toward dementia. Findings: Chinese health professional students had a mean ADKS score of 18.92 (SD = 3.20). Better knowledge was associated with advanced education, having family members with medical knowledge, having heard of dementia, and having interest in learning about dementia. Students had a mean DAS score of 89.10 (SD = 8.93), and their attitudes were significantly associated with majoring in public health and having heard of dementia. Students’ knowledge was positively, but weakly related with attitudes (r = 0.122, P = 0.028). Insights: Chinese undergraduate health professional students demonstrate insufficient knowledge and less positive attitudes toward dementia than their counterparts in developed countries. Enhanced dementia care-specific curriculum and training are urgently needed in China to meet the growing demand for dementia care services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • attitudes
  • dementia
  • health professions
  • knowledge
  • students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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