Attitudes toward prevention of cardiovascular diseases among first-year students of eight American medical schools, 1983-1985

Philip Greenland*, C. Hilmon Castle, Jerome D. Cohen, Dennis M. Davidson, Lawrence R. Krakoff, George A. Nowacek, Thomas A. Pearson, Thomas A. Riemenschneider, Robert L. VanCitters, Elaine J. Stone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


First-year medical students at eight U.S. medical schools were surveyed by written questionnaire in 1983-1985 to determine their attitudes toward cardiovascular diseases prevention at medical school entry. An overall response rate of 92% was achieved (2,654 questionnaires), and 97% of responders provided complete and analyzable survey data. Response rates of five of eight medical schools were 98-100%, and one school each had rates of 67, 84, or 90%. Differences in mean attitude responses from school to school were small, as were differences between men and women or between blacks and whites. This survey found that entering medical students have generally positive attitudes toward the effectiveness of preventive cardiology practice as well as toward the importance of research efforts in cardiovascular disease prevention. Students frequently indicated, however, that it is "extremely difficult" to change patients' unhealthful habits and that "physician encouragement" may be not sufficient to help patients achieve more healthful behaviors. These findings could be helpful in directing educational efforts for medical students. The data suggest that major emphasis should be placed on conveying facts regarding the physicians' efficacy in clinical preventive cardiology and on teaching the skills of preventive cardiology practice Less emphasis appears to be necessary on encouraging positive attitudes about the importance of prevention since current students' attitudes appear to be already positive in this dimension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)700-711
Number of pages12
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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