Korean J Med Educ.  2013 Sep;25(3):211-220.

Development of an inventory assessing medical students' attitudes towards academic misconduct

  • 1Department of Medical Education, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. ymleehj@korea.ac.kr


Identifying medical students' perceptions of and experiences with unprofessional behavior in school can help them develop and maintain higher standards of professional ethics. The aim of this study was to develop an instrument that assesses medical students' attitudes toward academic misconduct.
A draft version of the questionnaire form was developed, based on an extensive literature review and iterative discussions. The validity of the content of this draft form was evaluated by medical students, physicians, and education specialists. A total of 803 medical students answered the questionnaire. Exploratory factor analysis was performed using principal axis factoring and Varimax rotation. A confirmatory factor analysis was also conducted by root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) and comparative fit index (CFI). The internal consistency of the scales was calculated using the Cronbach alpha statistic.
The exploratory factor analysis generated 6 factors with 29 items: scientific misconduct (8 items); irresponsibility in the class (6 items); disrespectful behavior in patient care (5 items); dishonesty in clerkship tasks (4 items); free-riding on group assignments (4 items); and irresponsibility during clerkship (2 items). After adding a single item that addressed cheating on examinations, a 30-item inventory was developed. A confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated a favorable RMSEA (0.082) and reasonable fit (CFI, 0.844). The coefficient alpha for each factor varied between 0.80 and 0.90.
Our instrument is useful in identifying students' ethical standards with regard to academics and examining the prevalence of unprofessional behavior in medical students.


Medical students; Academic misconduct; Inventory
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