Patient-centeredness and its correlates among first year medical students

Int J Psychiatry Med. 1999;29(3):347-56. doi: 10.2190/DVCQ-4LC8-NT7H-KE0L.


Objective: This research was performed to study the attitudes that medical students hold concerning their relationships with patients, and whether such attitudes are gender-related, affect career plans, and influence their evaluation of psycho-social and biomedical issues.

Methods: One hundred fifty-three first year students at the Boston University School of Medicine completed the Patient-Practitioner Orientation Scale (PPOS), a scale that differentiates between a patient-centered vs. doctor-centered orientation toward medical practice, indicated their interest in community and primary care practice, and rank ordered psycho-social and biomedical clinical issues in terms of their perceived relative importance.

Results: The data revealed that female medical students were more patient-centered, and that (across sexes) patient centeredness was positively associated with an interest in community and primary care practice and the ranking of psycho-social issues.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that differences in the practice attitudes of males and females exist very early on in medical training, and that these differences are associated with anticipated career choices. They also suggest that the PPOS may prove useful in measuring the attitudes of practicing physicians toward their clinical roles and might predict physicians' behavioral strategies and patient medical outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Boston
  • Career Choice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Psychological Tests / standards*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Students, Medical / psychology*