Korean J Med Educ.  2019 Dec;31(4):309-317. 10.3946/kjme.2019.141.

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

  • 1Department of Medical Education, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.
  • 2Department of Medical Education, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul,. ymlesshj@korea.ac.kr
  • 3Department of Medical Education, Catholic Kwandong University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea. edujin@cku.ac.kr
  • 4Department of Medical Education and Medical Humanities, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 5Department of Medical Education, Chungbuk National University Medical School, Cheongju, Korea.
  • 6Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea.
  • 7Department of Pharmacology, Inha University School of Medicine, Incheon, Korea.


This study investigated medical students' attitudes toward academic misconduct that occurs in the learning environment during the pre-clinical and clinical periods.
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).
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.
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.


Professional misconduct; Ethics; Medical students; Medical professionalism

MeSH Terms

Patient Care
Professional Misconduct
Schools, Medical
Scientific Misconduct
Students, Medical
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