Improving the Preparation of Preclinical Students for Taking Sexual Histories

Published in: Academic Medicine, v. 64, no. 8, Aug. 1989, p. 474-479

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1989

by Shirah Vollmer, Kenneth B. Wells, Kay H. Blacker, Gordon Ulrey

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The authors evaluated human sexuality training programs at two California medical schools. In one program, students had no experience taking a sexual history. In the other, students were randomly assigned either to conduct or to observe a brief sexual history interview with a community volunteer. The students who conducted an interview showed more significant improvements in knowledge of human sexuality, perceived appropriateness of taking a sexual history and perceived personal skill in taking a sexual history than did the students who neither observed nor took a sexual history and also developed more critical views of practicing physicians' skills in taking such histories. The students who observed an interview improved more in knowledge and perceived personal skill than did the students who had no interview experience.

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