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Patient Educ Couns. 2008 Sep;72(3):374-81. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2008.05.021. Epub 2008 Jul 24.

Medical student gender and issues of confidence.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA. blanch.d@neu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To review the literature on gender differences and issues of self-confidence in medical students and to present original research on observers' perceptions of medical student confidence.

METHODS:

One hundred forty-one 3rd year medical students at Indiana University School of Medicine were videotaped during their objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). Trained coders rated how confident the student appeared and coded a variety of nonverbal behaviors at the beginning, middle, and end of the interaction. Analysis focused on gender differences in coders' ratings of perceived confidence.

RESULTS:

Female medical students were viewed as significantly less confident than male medical students (F(1,133)=4.45, p<0.05), especially at the beginning of the interaction.

CONCLUSION:

Past research indicates that despite performing equally to their male peers, female medical students consistently report decreased self-confidence and increased anxiety, particularly over issues related to their competence. In a standardized patient interaction examination situation, female medical students also appeared significantly less confident than male medical students to independent observers.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Medical educators should focus on issues of female students' confidence, increasing faculty sensitivity, and publicly recognizing and discussing perceptions of confidence.

PMID:
18656322
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2008.05.021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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