Korean medical students' attitudes toward academic misconduct: A cross-sectional multicenter study

Eun Kyung Chung, Young Mee Lee, Su Jin Chae, Tai Young Yoon, Seok Yong Kim, So Youn Park, Ji Young Park, Chang Shin Park

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    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: This study investigated medical students' attitudes toward academic misconduct that occurs in the learning environment during the pre-clinical and clinical periods. Methods: Third-year medical students from seven medical schools were invited to participate in this study. A total of 337 of the 557 (60.5%) students completed an inventory assessing their attitudes toward academic misconduct. The inventory covered seven factors: scientific misconduct (eight items), irresponsibility in class (six items), disrespectful behavior in patient care (five items), dishonesty in clerkship tasks (four items), free riding on group assignments (four items), irresponsibility during clerkship (two items), and cheating on examinations (one item). Results: Medical students showed a strict attitude toward academic misconduct such as cheating on examinations and disrespectful behavior in patient care, but they showed a less rigorous attitude toward dishonesty in clerkship tasks and irresponsibility in class. There was no difference in students' attitudes toward unprofessional behaviors by gender. The graduate medical school students showed a stricter attitude toward some factors of academic misconduct than the medical college students. This difference was significant for irresponsibility in class, disrespectful behavior in patient care, and free riding on group assignments. Conclusion: This study indicates a critical vulnerability in medical students' professionalism toward academic integrity and responsibility. Further study evidence is needed to confirm whether this professionalism lapse is confined only to this population or is pervasive in other medical schools as well.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)309-317
    Number of pages9
    JournalKorean Journal of Medical Education
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Young-Mee Lee: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4685-9465; Su Jin Chae: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3060-8933; Tai Yong Yoon: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5743-9044; So Youn Park: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0553-5381; Seok Yong Kim: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5680-4700; Ji-Young Park: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7571-1064; Chang-Shin Park: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6519-2857 Acknowledgements: The authors would like to express their thanks to Eun Jin Lee, who assisted with the data collection and data entry. Funding: This study was supported by research funds of the Research Institute for Healthcare Policy, the Korean Medical Association in 2017. Conflicts of interest: Young-Mee Lee is the editor-in-chief and Su Jin Chae is an associate editor at KJME. However, they were not involved in the peer reviewer selection, evaluation, or decision-making process of this article. No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported. Author contributions: Conception and design of the study: EKC, YML, SJC; acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of data: EKC, YML, SJC; acquisition of study data: EKC, YML, TYY, SJC, SYK, JYP, CSP; drafting the article: EKC; and final approval of the version to be published and agreement to its publication: YML, SJC.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © The Korean Society of Medical Education. All rights reserved. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


    • Ethics
    • Medical professionalism
    • Medical students
    • Professional misconduct

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education


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