Literacy of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) among Clinical Year Medical Students in Malaysia

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJMD.2013.04.01.Art003

Authors : Roy Rillera Marzo, Samantha Wong LiySyen, Sylvia Sutharsana


Objective: This study was carried out to assess the literacy of Autism Spectrum Disorder among clinical year medical student in Malaysia.

Methodology: This was a quantitative approach study in which the data was assessed cross-sectional and descriptively. The target population of this study was clinical year medical students from private and public universities. The data was collected through the method of multi-stage sampling which includes cluster and simple random sampling.

Results: Of the 210 clinical year medical students that responded to our study, 70(33.3%) were males and 140(66.7%) were females. There were more students from private universities 179(85.2%) compared to public universities 31(14.8%). The total mean score on belief about autism was 3.84±1.36 out of the maximum 7. There were only 6 (2.9%) out of 210 students who considered to have no misconception on ASD. The total mean score on knowledge was 12.93±3.56 out of 19. It was reported that only 3 (1.4%) students out of 210 considered to have adequate knowledge. The findings in this study showed that there was lack of appropriate attitude of the clinical year medical students towards autistic individuals.

Conclusion: The recognition of the clinical year medical students in Malaysia regarding ASD is low as we can see that there are only 2.9% of the students have accurate belief and 1.4% of students have adequate knowledge about ASD. There are 85.7% of the students who see the autistic individual as normal individual, which to say that there are still presence of 14.3% who see them as abnormal. Thus, this shows that there are still certain level of stigmatization or discrimination which occurred. Belief and attitudes toward autistics can be improved in such a way that medical students would be exemplary to the public on the way autistics should be treated. Ignorance is due to the lack of knowledge thus, medical students should be equipped to educate the public regarding autism to eliminate the existing ignorance that can be seen in the public’s attitude towards autism.

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Medical Students, Knowledge, Belief, Attitude


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