Gender comparisons of medical students' psychosocial profiles.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES This study was designed to compare male and female medical students on selected personality attributes that could influence their academic attainment and personal success. DESIGN Participants were 1157 medical students (743 men, 414 women) who completed a set of psychosocial questionnaires measuring intensity and chronicity of loneliness, general anxiety, test anxiety, neuroticism, depression, extraversion, self-esteem, locus of control, perceptions of parents, general health and appraisals of stressful life events. Data were analysed by employing multivariate and univariate analysis of variance and chi-square analysis. SETTING Jefferson Medical College. SUBJECTS Medical students. RESULTS Men scored significantly higher on the intensity of loneliness, and women scored higher on general anxiety, test anxiety and neuroticism scales, but the magnitudes of the effect size estimates were not large. No significant gender difference was observed on measures of chronicity of loneliness, depression, extraversion, self-esteem, external locus of control, perception of general health and perceptions of the mother and the father. Women who experienced stressful life events, such as death in the family or personal illness, appraised these events more negatively than did their male counterparts. CONCLUSIONS Implications of the findings for medical education and practice are discussed.

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