Incoming medical students' political orientation affects outcomes related to care of marginalized groups: Results from the medical student CHANGES study

Diana J. Burgess, Rachel R. Hardeman, Sara E. Burke, Brooke A. Cunningham, John F. Dovidio, David B. Nelson, Sylvia P. Perry, Sean M. Phelan, Mark W. Yeazel, Jeph Herrin, Michelle van Ryn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article characterizes the political ideology of first-year medical students and describes the extent to which their political ideology was associated with attitudes and beliefs related to the care of marginalized patients assessed during their fourth year. Analyses use data fromonline questionnaires administered to 3,756medical students from a stratified random sample of forty-nine medical schools in their first and fourth years of study. The primary measure of political ideology was a five-point scale anchored by "very conservative" and "very liberal." Mixed-effects linear regression was used to test the predictive power of political ideology at year 1 on year 4 outcomes. Among incoming medical students, 47.7% identified as liberal, 33.3% as moderate, and 19.0% as conservative. More conservative ideology was associated at year 4 with greater implicit bias against black and gay individuals, more negative explicit attitudes toward stigmatized groups, lower internal motivation to control racial prejudice, lower levels of trait empathy and empathy toward patients, and lower levels of patientcentered attitudes. Future research is needed to inform and develop interventions to improve care of patients from marginalized groups that are effective for medical students and health care providers across the political spectrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-146
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Health Politics, Policy and Law
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

Keywords

  • Health care disparities
  • Implicit bias
  • Medical education
  • Stigmatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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    Burgess, D. J., Hardeman, R. R., Burke, S. E., Cunningham, B. A., Dovidio, J. F., Nelson, D. B., Perry, S. P., Phelan, S. M., Yeazel, M. W., Herrin, J., & Ryn, M. V. (2019). Incoming medical students' political orientation affects outcomes related to care of marginalized groups: Results from the medical student CHANGES study. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 44(1), 113-146. https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-7206755