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Social anxiety in medical students: Implications for communication skills teaching

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Social anxiety manifests as a fear of social situations, including being observed by others (Bruce & Saeed 1999). Communication skills workshops frequently involve student performance being observed by others, therefore social anxiety may impact upon attitudes to this style of teaching.

Aims: To determine the levels of social anxiety amongst medical undergraduates and investigate whether this influenced attitudes towards communication skills teaching.

Methods: 247 medical students (three year groups, 60% female) from the University of St Andrews completed a questionnaire survey measuring levels of social anxiety and attitudes to communication skills teaching (Mattick & Clarke 1998; Rees et al. 2002).

Results: Average social anxiety scores in the students were lower (t-tests, P < 0.001) than other groups measured by Mattick & Clarke ( 1998). A minority (8%) of medical undergraduates however experienced high levels of social anxiety. High social anxiety scores correlated with negative attitudes to communication skills teaching, especially among female students (r = 0.359, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Social anxiety contributes to a negative attitude towards communication skills teaching and may impact on participation in group workshops. This information could influence the methods tutors use for the provision of feedback in such workshops.

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-654
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Teacher
Volume31
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Research areas

  • PHOBIA, DISORDER, PERFORMANCE, ATTITUDES, SCALE

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