The development of a scale to measure medical students' attitudes towards communication skills learning: the Communication Skills Attitude Scale (CSAS)

Med Educ. 2002 Feb;36(2):141-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2002.01072.x.

Abstract

Introduction: There is little research identifying medical students' attitudes towards communication skills learning. This pilot study outlines the development of a new scale to measure attitudes towards communication skills learning.

Methods: First- and second-year medical students (n = 490) completed the 26-item Communication Skills Attitude Scale (CSAS) and 39 students completed the CSAS on a second occasion. Factor analysis was conducted to determine the factors underpinning the scale. The internal consistency of the subscales was determined using alpha coefficients. The test-retest reliability of the individual scale items were determined using weighted kappa coefficients and the test-retest reliability of the subscales were established using intraclass correlation coefficients.

Results: Maximum likelihood extraction with direct oblimin rotation resulted in a 2-factor scale with 13 items on each subscale. Factor I represented positive attitudes towards communication skills learning and factor II represented negative attitudes. Subscale I had an internal consistency of alpha=0.873 and an intraclass correlation of 0.646 (P < 0.001). Subscale II had an internal consistency of alpha=0.805 and an intraclass correlation of 0.771 (P < 0.001). The majority of items on the positive (n=9, 69.2%) and the negative attitude subscales (n=8, 61.5%) possessed moderate test-retest reliability.

Discussion: The development of a new and reliable scale to identify medical students' attitudes towards communication skills learning will enable researchers to explore the relationships between medical students' attitudes and their demographic and education-related characteristics. Further work is needed to validate this scale among a broader population of medical students.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Communication*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / standards*
  • Educational Measurement
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results