Background and objectives: Despite inclusion of Balint training in US family medicine residency programs, little research exists about the effectiveness of this training in improving residents' behavioral medicine skills. This study compared the outcomes for residents who did and did not undergo Balint training to increase residents' psychological medicine skills in two rural training programs.
Methods: Fourteen residents from two rural community-based training programs were assessed using the Psychological Medicine Inventory, following standard first-year behavioral medicine training. At one residency program, residents then participated in 9 months of Balint training during the second year of residency training, while at the other program they did not. Both groups were reassessed at the end of the second year of residency.
Results: Only Balint-trained residents showed gains in self-reported psychological medicine skills, abilities, and confidence beyond levels developed in year 1.
Conclusions: Balint training enhances the levels of residents' self-reported psychological medicine skills, when compared to standard behavioral medicine curriculum for first- and second-year family medicine residents.