Addiction medicine training in undergraduate medical education: From understanding to attitude improvement

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019


The aim of this study was to disentangle the effects of perception and knowledge about addiction on the attitude towards addicted patients. We evaluated hypotheses: i) addiction medicine training is effective in improving medical students’ attitudes towards addiction and change their perceptions of addiction, and ii) the knowledge and perceptions of addiction acquired from the training predict the attitude after the training.


An observational non-randomized controlled trial study.


The school of medicine of the Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia.


Fourth-year medical students (N = 188) participated in this study. They enrolled in an elective block of their preference, addiction medicine (intervention) or others (control).


The Medical Condition Regard Scale and the Illness Perception Questionnaire addiction version were used to measure participants’ attitude and perceptions, respectively. The effect of addiction medicine training was analyzed by a repeated-measure MANOVA. A linear-regression analysis was used to predict the attitude after the training, among participants of the intervention group (n=46).

Findings and Conclusions

We found that addiction medicine training improved participants’ attitudes towards addiction and their coherent understanding of addiction, compared to the control group. Moreover, our model showed that this illness coherence perception acquired from the training predicted the attitude after the training, while knowledge did not. We concluded that addiction medicine training is effective in improving the medical students’ attitude towards and coherent understanding of addiction. For the attitude development, improving the coherent understanding might be more important than only improving knowledge.

Astri Parawita Ayu