Medical Student Abuse Perceptions and Experience

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A questionnaire containing 18 vignettes of common clinical educational situations with potentially abusive treatment of medical students and a 10-item attitude assessment about abusive behaviour were administered to the first- and fourth-year medical students at a mid-west US university medical school. The first- and fourth-year groups did not differ significantly on perceived abusiveness of most of the vignettes, although several of the individual vignettes were perceived significantly differently by the two groups. As hypothesized, the fourth-year students had experienced such situations more frequently. Attitudes towards abusive behaviour did not differ between the two groups. The authors contrast teaching interactions perceived as educationally useful and not abusive with those seen as abusive and not useful and offer explanations for the differences observed. Finally, the possible implications of the results for medical education are discussed.



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