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Age Ageing. 2017 Nov 1;46(6):911-919. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afx058.

Factors related to medical students' and doctors' attitudes towards older patients: a systematic review.

Author information

1
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
2
Centre for Sustainable Working Life, School of Business, Economics and Informatics, Birkbeck University of London, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
3
Division of Medical Sciences and Graduate Entry Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
4
Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, Leicestershire, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
5
Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
6
Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Abstract

Background:

studies have sought to identify the possible determinants of medical students' and doctors' attitudes towards older patients by examining relationships with a variety of factors: demographic, educational/training, exposure to older people, personality/cognitive and job/career factors. This review collates and synthesises these findings.

Methods:

an electronic search of 10 databases was performed (ABI/Inform, ASSIA, British Nursing Index, CINAHL, Informa Health, Medline, PsycINFO, Science Direct, Scopus, and Web of Science) through to 7 February 2017.

Results:

the main search identified 2,332 articles; 37 studies met the eligibility criteria set. All included studies analysed self-reported attitudes based on correlational analyses or difference testing, therefore causation could not be determined. However, self-reported positive attitudes towards older patients were related to: (i) intrinsic motivation for studying medicine, (ii) increased preference for working with older patients and (iii) good previous relationships with older people. Additionally, more positive attitudes were also reported in those with higher knowledge scores but these may relate to the use of a knowledge assessment which is an indirect measure of attitudes (i.e. Palmore's Facts on Aging Quizzes). Four out of the five high quality studies included in this review reported more positive attitudes in females compared to males.

Conclusion:

this article identifies factors associated with medical students' and doctors' positive attitudes towards older patients. Future research could bring greater clarity to the relationship between knowledge and attitudes by using a knowledge measure which is distinct from attitudes and also measures knowledge that is relevant to clinical care.

KEYWORDS:

attitude; medical student; older adult; physician; systematic review

PMID:
28472444
PMCID:
PMC5860378
DOI:
10.1093/ageing/afx058
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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