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Assessing medical students' attitudes towards learning communication skills--which components of attitudes do we measure?

Anvik T, Gude T, Grimstad H, Baerheim A, Fasmer OB, Hjortdahl P, Holen A, Risberg T, Vaglum P - BMC Med Educ (2007)

Bottom Line: A Principal component analysis yielded findings that differ in many respects from those of earlier papers.The first factor describes students' feelings about the way communication skills are taught, whereas the second factor describes more fundamental attitudes and values connected to the importance of having communication skills for doctors.This may turn out to be helpful for monitoring the effect of different teaching strategies on students' attitudes during medical school.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tromsø, Norway. tor.anvik@ism.uit.no

ABSTRACT

Background: The Communication Skills Attitudes Scale (CSAS) created by Rees, Sheard and Davies and published in 2002 has been a widely used instrument for measuring medical students' attitudes towards learning communication skills. Earlier studies have shown that the CSAS mainly tests two dimensions of attitudes towards communication; positive attitudes (PAS) and negative attitudes (NAS). The objectives of our study are to explore the attitudes of Norwegian medical students towards learning communication skills, and to compare our findings with reports from other countries.

Methods: The CSAS questionnaire was mailed simultaneously to all students (n = 3055) of the four medical schools in Norway in the spring of 2003. Response from 1833 students (60.0%) were analysed by use of SPSS ver.12.

Results: A Principal component analysis yielded findings that differ in many respects from those of earlier papers. We found the CSAS to measure three factors. The first factor describes students' feelings about the way communication skills are taught, whereas the second factor describes more fundamental attitudes and values connected to the importance of having communication skills for doctors. The third factor explores whether students feel that good communication skills may help them respecting patients and colleagues.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that in this sample the CSAS measures broader aspects of attitudes towards learning communication skills than the formerly described two-factor model with PAS and NAS. This may turn out to be helpful for monitoring the effect of different teaching strategies on students' attitudes during medical school.

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Scree Plot with Eigenvalues for each of the 26 components.
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Figure 1: Scree Plot with Eigenvalues for each of the 26 components.

Mentions: Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy was 0.928 and Bartlett's test of sphericity showed a significance of < 0.001, both suggesting that a principal component analysis (PCA) is feasible. The PCA with direct oblimin rotation of the scores from the 26 items in the questionnaire gave five factors with initial Eigenvalues >1 which explained 47.9% of the variance (Table 1). This table and the Scree plot (Figure 1) suggested that the CSAS mainly tests one factor explaining 27.2% of the variance. In addition, the Scree plot displayed a levelling-out from factor 4. We therefore included two additional factors, explaining 6.3% and 5.9% of the variance respectively. In selecting items to describe each of the three factors we chose the items that loaded more than 0.4 on one factor and at least 0.10 lower on any of the other two factors. The pattern matrix with loadings after rotation is shown in Table 2 and a description of the wording of the items and measures of internal reliability and skewness for each factor is shown in Table 3.


Assessing medical students' attitudes towards learning communication skills--which components of attitudes do we measure?

Anvik T, Gude T, Grimstad H, Baerheim A, Fasmer OB, Hjortdahl P, Holen A, Risberg T, Vaglum P - BMC Med Educ (2007)

Scree Plot with Eigenvalues for each of the 26 components.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC1851955&req=5

Figure 1: Scree Plot with Eigenvalues for each of the 26 components.
Mentions: Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy was 0.928 and Bartlett's test of sphericity showed a significance of < 0.001, both suggesting that a principal component analysis (PCA) is feasible. The PCA with direct oblimin rotation of the scores from the 26 items in the questionnaire gave five factors with initial Eigenvalues >1 which explained 47.9% of the variance (Table 1). This table and the Scree plot (Figure 1) suggested that the CSAS mainly tests one factor explaining 27.2% of the variance. In addition, the Scree plot displayed a levelling-out from factor 4. We therefore included two additional factors, explaining 6.3% and 5.9% of the variance respectively. In selecting items to describe each of the three factors we chose the items that loaded more than 0.4 on one factor and at least 0.10 lower on any of the other two factors. The pattern matrix with loadings after rotation is shown in Table 2 and a description of the wording of the items and measures of internal reliability and skewness for each factor is shown in Table 3.

Bottom Line: A Principal component analysis yielded findings that differ in many respects from those of earlier papers.The first factor describes students' feelings about the way communication skills are taught, whereas the second factor describes more fundamental attitudes and values connected to the importance of having communication skills for doctors.This may turn out to be helpful for monitoring the effect of different teaching strategies on students' attitudes during medical school.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tromsø, Norway. tor.anvik@ism.uit.no

ABSTRACT

Background: The Communication Skills Attitudes Scale (CSAS) created by Rees, Sheard and Davies and published in 2002 has been a widely used instrument for measuring medical students' attitudes towards learning communication skills. Earlier studies have shown that the CSAS mainly tests two dimensions of attitudes towards communication; positive attitudes (PAS) and negative attitudes (NAS). The objectives of our study are to explore the attitudes of Norwegian medical students towards learning communication skills, and to compare our findings with reports from other countries.

Methods: The CSAS questionnaire was mailed simultaneously to all students (n = 3055) of the four medical schools in Norway in the spring of 2003. Response from 1833 students (60.0%) were analysed by use of SPSS ver.12.

Results: A Principal component analysis yielded findings that differ in many respects from those of earlier papers. We found the CSAS to measure three factors. The first factor describes students' feelings about the way communication skills are taught, whereas the second factor describes more fundamental attitudes and values connected to the importance of having communication skills for doctors. The third factor explores whether students feel that good communication skills may help them respecting patients and colleagues.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that in this sample the CSAS measures broader aspects of attitudes towards learning communication skills than the formerly described two-factor model with PAS and NAS. This may turn out to be helpful for monitoring the effect of different teaching strategies on students' attitudes during medical school.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus