Correlates of entering medical students' attitudes toward geriatrics

Celeste P.M. Wilderom*, Eric G. Press, Evan Calkins, Arthur G. Cryns, Frank Schimpfhauser, David V. Perkins, Jacob A. Tebes, Linda Nichols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Six successive entering classes at a medical school were surveyed concerning their attitudes toward geriatrics. Responding students’ general attitudes toward the elderly were not negative. Despite this, only 3% of all students showed interest in specializing in geriatric medicine. Path analysis revealed that preference for treating older patients, prior volunteer work with the elderly, and a positive attitude toward the aged in general enhanced student interest in geriatrics. General attitudes derived from feelings of closeness experienced with the elderly in familial and friendship relations. Students who preferred older patients perceived this patient category positively. Perceptions of elderly patients, in turn, were influenced by attitudes toward the aged and by perceived satisfaction of physicians treating the elderly. The model explains a third of the variance in the measure of disinterest in geriatric specialization. Adding sociological factors to the path model in lieu of biographical ones may increase explanatory power.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-446
Number of pages18
JournalEducational gerontology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


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