Medical student socio-demographic characteristics and attitudes toward patient centered care: do race, socioeconomic status and gender matter? A report from the Medical Student CHANGES study

Patient Educ Couns. 2015 Mar;98(3):350-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2014.11.013. Epub 2014 Nov 18.


Objective: To determine whether attitudes toward patient-centered care differed by socio-demographic characteristics (race, gender, socioeconomic status) among a cohort of 3191 first year Black and White medical students attending a stratified random sample of US medical schools.

Methods: This study used baseline data from Medical Student CHANGES, a large national longitudinal cohort study of medical students. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess the association of race, gender and SES with attitudes toward patient-centered care.

Results: Female gender and low SES were significant predictors of positive attitudes toward patient-centered care. Age was also a significant predictor of positive attitudes toward patient-centered care such that students older than the average age of US medical students had more positive attitudes. Black versus white race was not associated with attitudes toward patient-centered care.

Conclusions: New medical students' attitudes toward patient-centered care may shape their response to curricula and the quality and style of care that they provide as physicians. Some students may be predisposed to attitudes that lead to both greater receptivity to curricula and the provision of higher-quality, more patient-centered care.

Practice implications: Medical school curricula with targeted messages about the benefits and value of patient-centered care, framed in ways that are consistent with the beliefs and world-view of medical students and the recruitment of a socioeconomically diverse sample of students into medical schools are vital for improved care.

Keywords: Gender; Medical education; Patient-centered care; Race; Socioeconomic status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Healthcare Disparities / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Prejudice / psychology
  • Racial Groups*
  • Social Class*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires