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© Borgis - New Medicine 3/2007, s. 51-54
*István Hornyák
A Comparative Analysis of Ten to Eighteen-Year-Old German and Hungarian Students´ Attitude towards and Abilities in Giving First Aid
Semmelweis University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Oxidogy
Head of the Department: Dr Gábor Göbl
Introduction. Efficient emergency care demands the first aid instruction of inexpert rescuers. Lay adults´ willingness to perform first aid is rather low. The investigation of children´s and teenagers´ attitude to first aid helps experts elaborate the best teaching method. Aim.With the comparison of German and Hungarian children´s knowledge and attitude to first aid we can get a picture of the differences caused by the two countries.
Method. With the aid of a questionnaire we surveyed German and Hungarian students´, aged 10-18, attitude to first aid and their current knowledge. The statistical analysis of the results was carried out with the Pearson Chi-Square and the Mann-Whitney (p<0.05) test.
Results. German students are significantly more willing to help than their Hungarian peers (p=0.0003). Hungarian students were more worried about making mistakes due to a lack of knowledge and appeared to be more afraid of causing harm to the person in need. A high percentage of both German and Hungarian respondents (German: 88.7%, Hungarian: 85.7%) considered it important for everybody to get trained in first aid. German respondents, however, find theory and practice equally important. Half of the questions on their current knowledge German, the other half Hungarian respondents answered significantly better.
Conclusion. German students, most of whom had studied first aid before and had an opportunity to learn it in several forms, showed a more positive attitude and less rejective behaviour than their Hungarian peers. As for the current knowledge of those already familiar with first aid, the results were almost equal. The analysis of the young generations´ attitude and knowledge in the two countries pinpoints the importance of instruction at school age.

Accidents and situations of danger caused by sudden deteriorations in health are part of everyone´s life. The system of emergency care, which was drawn up in the 1960s, emphasizes the role of the "inexpert rescuer” (1). Former studies confirm that with adequate first aid intervention the number of sudden deaths can be decreased significantly (2). Several studies highlight, however, that adults´ willingness to give first-aid is rather low (3).
A highly important field of first aid instruction is the development of children´s and adolescents´ competence. Numerous studies aim to prove that children and adolescents can also acquire a number of lifesaving techniques, such as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and other first aid techniques (4, 6). These studies for several reasons consider the instruction of first aid to the above-mentioned age groups highly important. They point out the effect of prevention through the recognition of situations of danger, the development of a helping mentality, the development of the personality and the opportunity for repetition in learning. Giving first aid demands not only knowledge but also a positive emotional attitude and motivation.
The number of studies on the motivational components of first aid, however, is rather small (5) and that of studies on attitude to first aid is even smaller. A person´s attitude depends on several different factors, such as cultural background and education.
The present study is a comparative analysis of German and Hungarian children´s/adolescents´ knowledge of and attitude to first aid and highlights the differences which emerge from their different historical and educational backgrounds.
The research was carried out between February 2004 and February 2005 with the involvement of volunteers. The questionnaires were filled in by a high number of students aged 10-18. The questionnaire contained 20 questions which examined the general components of attitude towards first aid, the attitude to learning and the respondents´ current knowledge. The volunteers answered the questions individually. Multiple answers could be given to each question. In some cases the respondent had the opportunity to express his or her personal opinion and opinions were classified during processing. Sorting out German respondents was organised by the Hannover Johannita School in the province, in Hungary by the Semmelweis University, Faculty of Health Sciences in the Central Hungarian region. The statistical analysis of the answers required that the demographic data be analysed with a descriptive method, and the questions on attitude and learning with a cross-table examination.
Relations were assessed with the Pearson Chi-Square test (p<0.05). The questions examining current knowledge, after ranking the answers from a professional point of view, were evaluated by the Mann-Whitney non-parametric test.
1342 respondents´ questionnaires could be evaluated, of whom 711 were German and 631 Hungarian students.
59.7% of the German and 42.1% of the Hungarian respondents had previously received some sort of first aid instruction. 46% of German students stated school, 5.3% special lessons and 4.6% the ambulance services as the scenario of their first aid studies. 31.1% of Hungarian students were given first aid instruction at school and 8.7% in special lessons. They could not receive first aid training at any other places. 32% of German and 19% of Hungarian students confirmed that they had needed to use their first aid knowledge before. A significantly higher proportion of German respondents (Hungarian: 76.4%; German: 87.1%) said they would give first aid to any person (p=0.0003). 9.2% of Hungarian respondents said they would not give first aid to anybody, while none of the German students gave a similar answer.
A significantly higher proportion of Hungarian respondents confirmed that the lack of knowledge and repugnance to "strange materials” (e.g. blood) restrain them from giving first aid, whereas a higher proportion of German students declared that the main factor to hold them back from giving first aid is indisposition to personal action (p=0.0002).
Speaking about fear of first aid, a higher number of Hungarian students reported to be afraid of giving harm to the person in need (p=0.000). A roughly similar proportion of the two groups (10%) considered fearful the probability of contagion during first aid. Thus, a high number of both German and Hungarian students (German: 88.7%, Hungarian: 85.7%) agreed that learning first aid is of special importance. Hungarian students, however, did not mention any particular expectations, whereas German students would expect to get lessons on theory as well as practice (p<0.001). 9.8% of Hungarian and 6.7% of German students would not study first aid techniques at all. The two groups had a different opinion on the suitable age for learning first aid:
a significantly higher proportion of Hungarian students (Hungarian: 56.4%; German: 25.4%) believe that first aid can be taught at primary school, while German respondents argue that secondary education is the suitable scenario of first aid training (p<0.001). In neither of the two groups did the proportion of respondents claiming that first aid should be taught in kindergarten or higher education achieve 10%. 68.8% of German and 47.6% of Hungarian students would prefer to study first aid during school time (p<0.001). Hungarian students opt for learning first aid at special lessons or outside of school.
German students consider schoolteachers half as ready for teaching first aid as their Hungarian fellows (Hungarian: 14.3%; German: 7.5%). Both groups underline that the first aid instructor should also have proper teaching abilities (Hungarian: 85.5%; German: 92.4%).
German students opted for biology and P.E. lessons as subjects in the syllabuses of which first aid should be included, whereas Hungarian students chose health sciences. A higher number of German respondents considered a single course book satisfactory for learning, whereas Hungarian students required further complementary materials, e.g. video/CD recordings (p<0.001).
Two particular questions on first aid (traffic accident, fraction of the clavicle) were given significantly more correct answers by German, the other two by Hungarian students.
In order to reveal all the factors that lead to the results obtained, we compared all the data from three different aspects.

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Adres do korespondencji:
*István Hornyak
Semmelweis University
Faculty of Health Sciences
17 Vas Str.
1088 Budapest, Hungary
tel.: (+36 1) 486-5840
e-mail: hornyaki@se-etk.hu

New Medicine 3/2007
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