, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 1643-1648
Date: 25 Jul 2012

Does Gender Moderate Medical Students’ Assessments of Unprofessional Behavior?

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ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

Despite widespread acceptance of professionalism as a clinical competency, the role of certain contextual factors in assessing certain behaviors remains unknown.

OBJECTIVE

To examine the potential moderating role of gender in assessing unprofessional behaviors during undergraduate medical training.

DESIGN

Randomized, anonymous, self-administered questionnaire.

PARTICIPANTS

Ninety seven (97) third-year students from a southeastern U.S. medical school (participation rate = 95.1 %).

MAIN MEASURES

Using a 4-point Likert-type scale, subjects reviewed two subsets of randomly administered, equally weighted hypothetical vignettes depicting potentially unprofessional behaviors that could occur during medical students’ clinical training. Ratings were categorized from 1 –“Not a Problem” to 4 –“A Severe Problem”, based on the perceived degree of unprofessionalism. In each written scenario, trainee gender was systematically varied.

KEY RESULTS

Across all scenario subsets, male and female students’ mean ratings of hypothetical behaviors did not differ significantly. Further, male and female students tended, on average, to rate behaviors similarly regardless of the trainee’s gender.

CONCLUSION

Study findings suggest that: (1) neither students’ gender nor that of the hypothetical “actor” moderates the assessment of unprofessional behaviors; and (2) male and female students assign roughly the same overall rankings to potentially unprofessional behaviors.