Improving medical students' attitudes towards the chronic sick: a role for social science research

Mullen, K., Nicolson, M. and Cotton, P. (2010) Improving medical students' attitudes towards the chronic sick: a role for social science research. BMC Medical Education, 10(84), (doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-84)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-10-84

Abstract

Background Many medical students are negatively disposed toward the elderly and chronic sick. The present study assessed the impact of a community-based teaching initiative, the Life History Project, on students' attitudes to these groups.

Methods A questionnaire including Likert based responses and free text comments was distributed to all first-year MBChB students after completion of their Life History coursework. Data was analysed using SPSS and content analysis.

Results A high proportion of students believed the Life History Project had increased their understanding of both psychological and social aspects of health and illness and the role of the humanistic social sciences within this. We discovered that the Life History Project not only gave students first-hand experience of the elderly and chronic sick but also had a positive effect on their attitudes towards these groups. The qualitative free text comments corroborated these views.

Conclusions It is possible to positively influence medical students' attitudes towards these stigmatised groups; it is therefore important that we continue to enhance opportunities for learning about the impact of chronic illness on individuals and society throughout the curriculum.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Nicolson, Professor Malcolm and Cotton, Professor Philip and Mullen, Dr Kenneth
Authors: Mullen, K., Nicolson, M., and Cotton, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:BMC Medical Education
ISSN:1472-6920

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