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World J Surg. 2008 Sep;32(9):1911-6. doi: 10.1007/s00268-008-9640-7.

The impact of self-belief on laparoscopic performance of novices and experienced surgeons.

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  • 1Department of Visceral, Thoracic, and Vascular Surgery, Philipps University of Marburg, Baldingerstrasse, 35033 Marburg, Germany.



In many professions, nontechnical aspects such as motivation or coping with stress are known to influence performance, success, and outcome. These qualities are assessed and trained in novices for quality and safety reasons. This study explored the impact of self-belief of surgeons on laparoscopic performance using a virtual reality simulator (LapSim).


Eighteen inexperienced surgical residents (with less than ten laparoscopic procedures performed) and 22 advanced residents (with more than 50 laparoscopic procedures performed) filled out a ten-item questionnaire used for the assessment of the individual sense of general self-efficacy (GSE). Afterward the participants were asked to perform three defined tasks on the LapSim, each at two different levels of difficulty. The tasks consisted of coordination, dissection, and application of clips. To assess laparoscopic performance, the total time to complete the tasks, economy of motion, and damage parameters were analyzed and correlated with the GSE score by means of Bravis-Pearson correlation analysis.


In novices, high GSE scores correlated with more errors and poor economy of motion, while in advanced residents, laparoscopic performance was independent of the level of assessed self-efficacy.


In a small sample, high self-belief does not predict success. In novices it negatively correlates with laparoscopic skills, while in advanced residents it is independent of laparoscopic performance. Thus, training aspects seem to be of greater importance for laparoscopic skills. Nevertheless, nontechnical aspects like self-belief, motivation, stress-coping strategies, judgment, decision-making, and leadership should be included in the surgical curriculum.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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