To examine medical students' attitudes toward PC in each year of their course, investigate changes in these attitudes over time during their course, and identify gender differences in attitudes and attitudinal change.
Questionnaires administered to four cohorts of preclinical core science and clinical medical students at the University of Cambridge Medical School from 2007 to 2010, with annual longitudinal follow-up in subsequent years; 1027 participants in total.
Students started their medical course with broadly positive attitudes toward PC, which largely persisted into the final years. During the core science component, some attitudes became more negative, whereas during the clinical component, some attitudes became more positive. Over the whole course, there was evidence of increasingly positive attitudes. No significant effect of gender on attitudes or attitudinal change was found. Although statistically significant, all these changes were small.