A comparative study of dementia knowledge, attitudes and care approach among Chinese nursing and medical students

Yao Wang, Lily Dongxia Xiao, Rong Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dementia care requires inter-disciplinary collaboration starting from formal health professional education. Yet, little is known about how undergraduate medical and nursing students perceive dementia care in China. The aim of this study was to investigate undergraduate medical and nursing students’ dementia knowledge, attitudes and care approach in China. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted. Students enrolled in a 5-year Bachelor of Medicine Program and a 4-year Bachelor of Nursing Program from four universities with campuses across Eastern, Western, Southern and Northern China were recruited into the study. Three validated instruments, Alzheimer’s Disease Knowledge Scale (ADKS), Dementia Care Attitude Scale (DCAS) and Approach to Advanced Dementia Care Questionnaire (ADCQ), were used to examine students’ dementia knowledge, attitudes and perceived care approach. Data were collected using a self-administered survey. Results: The number of medical and nursing students completing the survey was 526 and 467 respectively. Students’ overall knowledge about dementia was poor, but attitudes were generally positive. The overall mean score of students’ dementia knowledge examined by the ADKS was 19.49 (SD = 2.82) out of 30, students’ attitudes to dementia was 29.92(SD = 3.35) out of 40, and students’ person-centred care approach of dementia was 5.42 (SD = 2.20) out of 13. Medical students demonstrated higher dementia knowledge scores and showed less positive attitude scores than nursing students (p < 0.05). Students would not apply a person-centred care approach. There were no statistically significant differences in the mean scores of ADCQ between nursing students and medical students. Conclusions: Study results highlight the urgent need to implement an inter-disciplinary approach to increasing dementia education among Chinese medical and nursing students, and ensuring that students have adequate knowledge, attitudes and experience in the care of people with dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number436
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2020


  • Attitudes
  • Care approach
  • Dementia
  • Knowledge
  • Medical students
  • Nursing students


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