Medical Student Quality-of-Life in the Clerkships: A Scale Validation Study
Many aspects of medical school are stressful for students. To empirically assess student reactions to clerkship programs, or to assess efforts to improve such programs, educators must measure the overall well-being of the students reliably and validly. The purpose of the study was to develop and validate a measure designed to achieve these goals. The authors developed a measure of quality of life for medical students by sampling (public domain) items tapping general happiness, fatigue, and anxiety. A quality-of-life scale was developed by factor analyzing responses to the items from students in two different clerkships from 2005 to 2008. Reliability was assessed using Cronbach's alpha. Validity was assessed by factor analysis, convergence with additional theoretically relevant scales, and sensitivity to change over time. The refined nine-item measure is a Likert scaled survey of quality-of-life items comprised of two domains: exhaustion and general happiness. The resulting scale demonstrated good reliability and factorial validity at two time points for each of the two samples. The quality-of-life measure also correlated with measures of depression and the amount of sleep reported during the clerkships. The quality-of-life measure appeared more sensitive to changes over time than did the depression measure. The measure is short and can be easily administered in a survey. The scale appears useful for program evaluation and more generally as an outcome variable in medical educational research.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 April 2015
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