Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Female Medical Students Underestimate Their Abilities And Males Tend To Overestimate Theirs

Date:
October 4, 2008
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
Despite performing equally to their male peers in the classroom and the clinic, female medical students consistently report decreased self-confidence and increased anxiety, particularly over issues related to their competency.

Despite performing equally to their male peers in the classroom and the clinic, female medical students consistently report decreased self-confidence and increased anxiety, particularly over issues related to their competency.

A new study published in the September 2008 issue of Patient Education and Counseling found that female medical students also appeared less confident to patients.

"We observed third-year medical students interacting with individuals simulating patients and gave the students a battery of tests measuring non-verbal sensitivity. Female medical students self reported less self confidence than the male medical students and were also observed by trained raters to be less confident. Despite objective test performance that is equal to or greater than their male classmates there was something about the way in which the female medical students were observed and experienced their communication with patients that made them less confident" said the study's senior author Richard M. Frankel, Ph.D., professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and a Regenstrief Institute research scientist.

Observing the female medical students and finding that they actually appeared less confident in their interaction with patients than male counterparts answered the important question of whether women were simply more willing than men to admit that they are feeling anxious, stressed or that they lack confidence in their abilities.

Women now comprise more than half of the applicants to medical schools in the United States but medical educators may not be aware of gender differences in their student population, the study authors note.

"Our finding of decreased confidence among female medical students is important because it makes it very clear that somewhere in the training of future physicians, the issue of confidence needs to be addressed. Accomplishing this may be as straightforward as increasing faculty sensitivity and changing some simple learned behavior, but we will need more research to fully understand this phenomenon and its implications for medical education," said Dr. Frankel, a medical sociologist who studies both medical education and the doctor-patient relationship.

A literature survey by the study authors, which accompanied their observational report and analysis, shows that while there is no consistent gender difference in academic performance, female medical students tend to underestimate their abilities while males tend to overestimate theirs.

The literature survey also found that by the end of medical school, male students had achieved a greater level of identification with the role of doctor than female students with the same medical school experience. Interestingly, only female students reported thinking about confidence in their knowledge when asked to assess their identification with the role of doctor.

In a future study the research team hopes to observe how doctors'confidence in their abilities change over time from medical school through residency training to medical practice.

Authors of the current study are Danielle C. Blanch and Judith A. Hall of Northeastern University, Debra L. Roter of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study was funded by the Fetzer Institute of Kalamazoo, Mich.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Female Medical Students Underestimate Their Abilities And Males Tend To Overestimate Theirs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081003122713.htm>.
Indiana University. (2008, October 4). Female Medical Students Underestimate Their Abilities And Males Tend To Overestimate Theirs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081003122713.htm
Indiana University. "Female Medical Students Underestimate Their Abilities And Males Tend To Overestimate Theirs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081003122713.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins