Objective: Although the concept of altruism in medicine has a long tradition in Western thought, little empirical research has been carried out recently in this area. This study compares the altruistic attitudes of medical, legal and business students. Methods: We used a cross-sectional survey to compare the altruistic attitudes of 3 types of contemporary 'professional' students, those in medicine, law and business. Results: The results suggest that medical students report more altruistic attitudes than legal students, but not than business students. Overall, female students reported stronger attitudes consistent with altruism compared with males; African-American and Hispanic students reported more altruistic attitudes compared with White students. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the recent trend in recruiting more women and under-represented minority group members into medicine may have a positive impact on altruism in the profession, if we can assume that attitudes correlate with behaviours.
- *Education, medical, undergraduate
- Comparative study [publication type]
- Cross-sectional studies
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health