A study of the behaviour of medical students towards alcoholic patients as a result of their knowledge and self drinking patterns

ABSTRACT Objective To evaluate the attitude toward the alcoholic patient and the knowledge about the use of alcohol by the medical student according to his drinking pattern. Method It was a cross-sectional study involving at random selected students enrolled on the third, sixth and eleventh semester in three federal universities of southeastern Brazil (UFF, UFJF and Unifesp). Method Sociodemographic data were collected and the following instruments were applied: attitude evaluation scale, knowledge of scientific information scale on alcohol and management of the alcoholic patient and Audit for evaluation of alcohol problems. Results The study included 371 students. Alcohol users in the binge pattern accounted for 60.4% (n = 223) and 113 students (30.7%) presented a risk behavior for alcohol consumption (Audit ≥ 8). The alcohol consumption pattern did not differ between the universities nor between the evaluated periods (Kruskal Wallis, p > 0.05). Students from the three universities increased the score on the knowledge scale as the course progressed. However, there was no significant correlation between knowledge and drinking pattern (Spearman > 0.05). As for the attitude, it was observed that it is already satisfactory in the third period and improvement in the sixth period. Exception was observed among the students of Unifesp, who already presented near positive attitude in the third period that was maintained until the end of the course. Conclusion Although the university increases knowledge of risk problems of drinking this does not protect students of binge drinking. On the other hand, student’s positive attitude towards alcoholic patients improves over the course, regardless of drinking and the acquired scientific knowledge.