Medical student attitudes toward the geriatric patient

Donald L. Spence, Elliott M. Feigenbaum, Faith T Fitzgerald, Janet Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Questionnaires designed to test attitudes toward old people were given to both the freshman class and the senior class of students in the University of California School of Medicine. Results of the study showed that these two groups shared most of the general societal conceptions and misconceptions about the aged. In addition, these students adhered to a set of medical stereotypes about aging to a degree surprisingly unmodified by the much-vaunted medical socialization process; freshmen and seniors agreed on many aspects of the subject. The results of this attitudinal status were manifested in a medical prejudice against old patients, as expressed in the replies given to the questionnaire. How much of the difference observed between the attitudes of the freshmen and the seniors was due to non-medical acculturative influences (such as the demographic characteristics unique to each group) and how much to the medical socialization procedure, was difficult to ascertain. More significant, however, was the lack of difference between the two student classes and the failure of three years of medical education to mitigate factors injurious to a major and growing segment of the population - aged patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-983
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 1968

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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