"Over my dead body?": The influence of demographics on students' willingness to participate in peer physical examination

Charlotte E. Rees, Paul Bradley, Tracey Collett, John C. McLachlan

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33 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to explore quantitatively and qualitatively students' attitudes towards peer physical examination (PPE) and the influence of demographics on students' willingness to participate in PPE. A total of 296 first-year medical students from two consecutive cohorts at the Peninsula Medical School, UK completed the EFS questionnaire. Quantitative data from the questionnaire were analysed using univariate (i.e. Mann-Whitney and chi-squared tests) and multivariate statistics (i.e. stepwise multiple regression) and qualitative data were analysed using theme analysis. At least 92% of Peninsula Medical School students were willing to examine all 11 body parts (except breast and inguinal regions) of peers of same and opposite gender. Qualitative data support this by highlighting students' positive attitudes towards PPE. PPE was more acceptable within rather than across gender and students generally felt more comfortable examining their peers than being examined by peers. Qualitative data outline the range of student concerns with PPE. Significant relationships existed between students' attitudes towards PPE and various variables: gender, age and religious faith. The findings demonstrate that students may show a greater willingness to participate in PPE than previously thought. Further research is required to explore more fully the barriers to PPE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-605
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

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