Survey of incidence of and physicians' attitudes toward sexual assault.
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Survey of incidence of and physicians' attitudes toward sexual assault.

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  • English

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      Public Health Rep
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      In a recent pilot project, the number of women treated by private physicians for sexual assault was surveyed, and information was obtained regarding the physicin's knowledge of, and attitudes toward, issues related to sexual assault. The high incidence rates for treatment of rape by private physicians that have been speculated in the literature were not confirmed by the survey results. Sixty-seven percent of the 458 physicians responding to the survey reported seeing no rape victims during the study year. Since, however, the proportion of physicians seeing rape victims may show regional variations, this result should not be applied too generally. Ten factual questions about rape were sent to more than 1,000 physicians and given to 258 undergraduate psychology students of both sexes. Both the responding physicians and the students answered approximately 60 percent of the questions correctly (that is, selected the answers that best reflect current understanding about sexual assault). The respondents' attitudes toward sexual assault were inferred from the direction of their responses. Physicians were seen to share attitudes similar to those of the male students, but not of the female students. The female students tended to overestimate the incidence of rape, the physical trauma associated with it, and the timing of its psychological after effects.
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