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Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2014 May;19(2):183-201.

Specific disgust sensitivities differentially predict interest in careers of varying procedural-intensity among medical students.


Mismatches between the needs of public health systems and student interests have led to renewed study on the factors predicting career specializations among medical students. While most work examines career and lifestyle values, emotional proclivities may be important; disgust sensitivity may help explain preferences for careers with greater and lesser degrees of procedural content. In the study, 294 students completed measures assessing: (1) demographics, (2) career interest or intention regarding emergency medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and pediatric medicine, (3) traditional determinants of career intention/interest, and (4) core/bodily product, animal reminder, contamination, and sexual/moral disgust sensitivity. As predicted, logistic regressions controlling for demographics and traditional career predictors, showed that greater animal reminder disgust predicted reduced interest in emergency medicine but greater interest in pediatric medicine. Conversely, greater core/bodily product disgust predicted lower interest in obstetrics/gynecology and pediatric medicine; greater contamination and sexual/moral disgust both predicted increased odds of interest in internal medicine. Overall, specific disgust sensitivities were the best predictors of specialization intention in multivariate models. Specific disgust sensitivities appear to differentially deter and/or predispose self-selection into specific trajectories varying in procedural content. Such findings may permit the early identification of specialty fit and provide guidance in career counseling.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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