Are "tomorrow's doctors" honest? Exploring medical students and interns' attitude and reported behavior on academic misconduct
Objectives: To asses the self reported attitudes and behavior of medical students and interns to scenarios involving academic misconduct and whether there is any difference in response with respect to gender and engagement in practical life.
Design: A cross sectional study (Questionnaire survey).
Participants: Sixth year medical students and interns.
Methods: Students and interns were given an anonymous questionnaire that asked about their attitudes to seven scenarios describing a fictitious student engaging in the acts of academic misconduct and were asked to report their own potential behavior.
Results: The respondents recognized most of the scenarios that reside in the area of misconduct while the highest frequency of the respondents who had good attitude and behavior was in the scenario describing the impersonation of another student during assessment and as well as taking unauthorized material in the examination room (92.7% & 94.0%) respectively. The majority (73.1%) of the interns had good academic attitudes which was significantly higher than those reported by students (59.4%) (p=0.001).Around half (49.9%) of the interns reported good academic behavior which was also significantly higher than those reported by the students (41.4%) (p = 0.024).The majority of males (71.3%) had good attitudes which was significantly higher than those reported by females (60.1%) (p = 0.002). The penalty that should be imposed as reported by most of the respondents was "No action" for most of the scenarios.
Conclusion: The respondents recognized most of the behavior categorized as academic misconduct; however engagement in practical life and male gender seems to reflect positively on the response. The importance of developing strategies to engender appropriate attitudes and behavior of the medical students should be recognized
. Key wards: medical students, interns, academic misconduct, attitude, behavior
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