Misconduct in Medical Students
Developing World Bioethics 2008 December; 8(3): 219-225
Medical students, subject to unique challenges and stressors, frequently engage in misconduct. In this observational study, carried out in a medical school in Colombia, we developed a survey to explore the association between misconduct and stress, potential stressors and other possible contributing factors, such as sex, age and academic year. Of the 433 students that responded to our survey, 97.9% did not fully disagree with at least one of the mentioned misconducts and 99.8% admitted to at least one transgression. Based on a scale we developed, 61.4% of the students consistently agreed with misconduct and 44.9% frequently engaged in misconduct. A logistic regression model suggests that being male (OR 1.90, CI 95% 1.27-2.84) and stress (OR 1.04, CI 95% 1.01-1.06) may increase the likelihood of misconduct. In a subgroup of students, excluding those in their last year of studies, higher academic semester (OR 1.25, CI 95%: 1.10-1.42) may also be a risk factor for misconduct. Most of the observed variation in the data, however, is not explained by these factors. Other modifiers, such as student personality and sub-culture, may play a greater role in determining misconduct. The proportion of medical students that engage in misconduct is very high and warrants the attention of the medical education community.
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