Moral reasoning may decline during medical school
- By: David Spurgeon
A study of a class of Quebec medical students has prompted researchers to ask whether a hidden curriculum exists in the structure of medical education that inhibits rather than facilitates moral reasoning. The study appears in the April 1 edition of the Canadian Association Medical Journal (CMAJ 2003;168:840-4).
The researchers invited all 92 medical students enrolled at the University of Sherbrooke to complete a questionnaire on moral reasoning at the start of their first year of medical school and at the end of their third year. They used the French language version of Kohlberg's moral judgment interview, coded their responses by stage of moral development, and assigned their weighted average scores according to frequency of use of each stage. Kohlberg's scale, developed in 1958, was designed to measure changes in the logic of moral reasoning that usually occur over years, and has been validated across many cultures and in a