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Attitudes of medical students toward disabilities in Nigeria

  • Paul M. Ajuwon EMAIL logo , Foluso Ebun Afolabi Lesi , Oluwakemi Odukoya and Carrie Melia

Abstract

This study investigated the attitudes of dental and medical students toward disability issues in Nigeria. The setting was the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL), Idi-Araba, Lagos, Nigeria. The researchers surveyed two groups of 500-level students (i.e., 142 medical and 42 dental students). Participants voluntarily and anonymously completed a survey in July 2013 after a year-long exposure to disabilities in class modules and community-based experiences. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted. The researchers found three factors, namely: caring for children with disabilities, eliminating disabilities and outlook toward disabilities. Participants exhibited the greatest sympathy toward caring for children with disabilities and for eliminating disabilities. However, participants overall had a negative outlook toward individuals with disabilities. Additionally, younger participants and female participants tended to be more sympathetic toward individuals with disabilities. Although the trends found in this research were largely positive, the researchers identified some negative patterns. Specifically, participants admitted to feeling frustrated while caring for individuals with disabilities. They also reported feeling that families of children with disabilities do not love and care for their children as much as other families. These findings, among other things, indicate that medical students in Nigeria could benefit from further education about disabilities.


Corresponding author: Paul M. Ajuwon, BS, MS, PhD, Department of Counseling, Leadership and Special Education, Missouri State University, 901 S. National Avenue, Springfield, MO 65897, USA, E-mail:

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Received: 2014-7-17
Accepted: 2014-10-25
Published Online: 2015-3-28
Published in Print: 2015-5-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

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