Gender differences on medical students' attitudes toward patient-centred care: a cross-sectional survey conducted in Heilongjiang, China Academic Article uri icon


  • Objectives Assessing medical students’ attitudes toward patient-centred care is essential to bettering medical education. Based on doctor-patient relationships and the medical system in China, it is important to explore the impact of gender differences and other background factors on patient-centred attitudes and to provide references for medical education reform. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted on fourth-year medical undergraduate students from November 2017 to March 2018 in Heilongjiang Province, Northeast China. The Chinese-revised Patient-Practitioner Orientation Scale (CR-PPOS), which has been validated in previous research, was used to measure the medical students’ attitudes. The medical students’ demographic data was collected, including their gender, age, information on whether they have siblings, family residence location, doctor(s) for parents, year in which the student first experienced clinical practice, and student category. Results A total of 513 students (91.12%) completed the survey. The Chinese medical students scored considerably higher for ‘Caring’ (including patients’ preferences into the decision-making process) than for ‘Sharing’ (sharing information/responsibility with patients). These students tended to have patient-centred attitudes, as measured by an average overall CR-PPOS score of 3.63 (scores higher than 3.5 indicate patient-centred attitudes), which is higher than Malian (3.38) and Pakistani (3.40) medical students but lower than American (4.57) and Brazilian (4.66) students. Female students (P < 0.05) were significantly associated with more patient-centred attitudes and with higher ‘Sharing’ and ‘Caring’ subscale scores. Student category (P < 0.05) was associated with ‘Sharing’ and ‘Caring’ scores. Clinical hospital students (P < 0.05) were associated with more patient-centred attitudes and with higher ‘Sharing’ and ‘Caring’ subscale scores, Students without siblings (p < 0.07) were associated with the higher ‘Sharing’ subscale scores. Conclusions In China, gender has a significant impact on medical students’ patient-centred attitudes, which is similar to findings from other countries. If medical schools want to raise patient-centred attitudes across the board and bridge the gap between male and female patient-centred attitudes, gender, student category, and other factors should be incorporated into medical education.

publication date

  • October 24, 2019

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