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Medical Students’ First Male Urogenital Examination: Investigating the Effects of Instruction and Gender on Anxiety

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Author(s): Lisa D. Howley

Journal: Medical Education Online
ISSN 1087-2981

Volume: 8;
Start page: 14;
Date: 2003;
Original page

Keywords: medical education | health professional education | peer-reviewed | Clinical science education | Evaluation | Undergraduate medical education | Physical examination | Gender differences | Anxiety

ABSTRACT
Objectives: To investigate the effect that standardized instruction of the male urogenital examination had on the anxiety levels of students and to determine what influence, if any, the gender of the student had on this experience. Methods: One hundred thirty six second year medical students were asked to report their level of anxiety before and after participation in a small group teaching session on the male urogenital examination. We gathered both qualitative and quantitative information to better understand students’ anxiety surrounding this instruction. Results: Students had significantly lower state-anxiety scores following the instruction than before (F(1, 76)=102.353, p=.000, eta2=.574) and female students were more likely to have greater state-anxiety than male students (F=6.952, p=.010, eta2=.084). Ninety-nine percent of students reported that the teaching associates successfully reduced their anxiety. This decrease was attributed predominantly to the personal qualities of the teaching associates and to the format of the instruction. Conclusions: This study provides both quantitative and qualitative evidence that the use of male teaching associates to provide standardized instruction on the urogenital exam is effective at reducing students’ anxiety, particularly with regard to female students. Added standardized instruction may lead to increased confidence, skill, and future compliance with intimate physical exam screening practices
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