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Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2010 Aug;15(3):303-13. doi: 10.1007/s10459-009-9198-7. Epub 2009 Sep 23.

Effects of age, gender and educational background on strength of motivation for medical school.

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Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The aim of this study was to determine the effects of selection, educational background, age and gender on strength of motivation to attend and pursue medical school. Graduate entry (GE) medical students (having Bachelor's degree in Life Sciences or related field) and Non-Graduate Entry (NGE) medical students (having only completed high school), were asked to fill out the Strength of Motivation for Medical School (SMMS) questionnaire at the start of medical school. The questionnaire measures the willingness of the medical students to pursue medical education even in the face of difficulty and sacrifice. GE students (59.64 ± 7.30) had higher strength of motivation as compared to NGE students (55.26 ± 8.33), so did females (57.05 ± 8.28) as compared to males (54.30 ± 8.08). 7.9% of the variance in the SMMS scores could be explained with the help of a linear regression model with age, gender and educational background/selection as predictor variables. Age was the single largest predictor. Maturity, taking developmental differences between sexes into account, was used as a predictor to correct for differences in the maturation of males and females. Still, the gender differences prevailed, though they were reduced. Pre-entrance educational background and selection also predicted the strength of motivation, but the effect of the two was confounded. Strength of motivation appears to be a dynamic entity, changing primarily with age and maturity and to a small extent with gender and experience.

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