Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 26–34 | Cite as

The Psychiatry OSCE: A 20-Year Retrospective

  • Brian D. Hodges
  • Elisa Hollenberg
  • Nancy McNaughton
  • Mark D. Hanson
  • Glenn Regehr
IN DEPTH ARTICLE: Systematic Review



Twenty years ago researchers at the University of Toronto launched the Psychiatry Skills Assessment Project (PSAP), a research program exploring Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) in psychiatry. Between 1994 and 2005 PSAP produced publications on the feasibility, reliability, validity, ethics, and practical concerns of OSCEs in psychiatry. The current review has two parts: a review of the state of the art of OSCEs in psychiatry 20 years after they were introduced and documentation of the impact of the PSAP research program.


A literature search identified all publications on OSCEs and psychiatry. Articles were coded thematically, and locations of agreement and controversies were identified. Bibliometric analysis identified citations of PSAP research papers, which were analyzed thematically.


As of May 2013, there were 250 publications related to OSCEs in psychiatry (not including 10 PSAP papers), published in 29 different countries and ten languages. Prominent topics were the validity and acceptability of OSCEs and SPs, systems issues in adopting OSCEs in psychiatry, and the effects on learning. Eighty-eight percent of all publications cited PSAP work (300 citations). Citations were employed for four purposes: as evidence/justification (54 %); to frame replication research (14 %); to support adaptation of OSCEs in other countries and professions (15 %); and for debate (18 %).


Over the past 20 years, use of OSCEs has grown steadily in psychiatry, and several national certification organizations have adopted OSCEs. PSAP work, introduced two decades ago, continues to provide a scholarly foundation for psychometric, practical, and ethical issues of interest to this field.


Medical education Psychiatry education Assessment Objective structured clinical examination 


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian D. Hodges
    • 1
  • Elisa Hollenberg
    • 1
  • Nancy McNaughton
    • 1
  • Mark D. Hanson
    • 1
  • Glenn Regehr
    • 2
  1. 1.Toronto General HospitalTorontoCanada
  2. 2.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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