Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 51–60 | Cite as

Relationships Between Self-Assessment Skills, Test Performance, and Demographic Variables in Psychiatry Residents

  • David J. LynnEmail author
  • Charles Holzer
  • Patrick O’Neill


Some researchers have seen the capacity for self-assessment in trainees as a special skill, and some reports have concluded that this skill is positively and crucially correlated with academic competence. Thus, it is believed that those trainees who are most deficient in knowledge are least likely to be aware of their limitations. Other researchers have emphasized the impact of statistical regression and other technical considerations in the studies, which have led to these conclusions. Our study used a relative-ranking design to measure the accuracy of self-assessments of both strengths and weaknesses in psychiatry residents. We analyzed the relationships between indices of self-assessment accuracy and other resident characteristics, particularly current academic strength as measured by a standard test of psychiatric knowledge. A total of 56 residents in two general psychiatry programs evaluated their performance on the Psychiatry Resident in Training Examination by estimating the rank order of their scores in the 11 psychiatry subject areas. For each resident, actual examination results were then used to generate measures of the accuracy of the identification of strengths and weaknesses. Residents’ identifications of their strengths and weaknesses were significantly more accurate than chance levels. Strengths and weaknesses were identified with roughly equal proficiency, and accuracy in these assessments was not correlated to any of the following variables: academic competence as measured by examination raw scores, postgraduate year, gender, international vs. American medical education, program membership, or age. Our results do not support the hypothesis that trainees who show the least academic mastery also make the most inaccurate self-assessments. In addition, we found no resident characteristics that accounted for variation in self-assessment accuracy.


self-assessment medical education residency training psychiatry competence 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Lynn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Charles Holzer
    • 2
  • Patrick O’Neill
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryThomas Jefferson UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Medical Branch at GalvestonGalvestonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and NeurologyTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA

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