Title

Bullying of medical students in Pakistan: a cross-sectional questionnaire survey.

Document Type

Article

Department

Psychiatry

Abstract

Background: Several studies from other countries have shown that bullying, harassment, abuse or belittlement are a regular phenomenon faced not only by medical students, but also junior doctors, doctors undertaking research and other healthcare professionals. While research has been carried out on bullying experienced by psychiatrists and psychiatry trainees in Pakistan no such research has been conducted on medical students in this country. Methodology/Principal Findings: We conducted a cross-sectional questionnaire survey on final year medical students in six medical colleges of Pakistan. The response rate was 63%. Fifty-two percent of respondents reported that they had faced bullying or harassment during their medical education, about 28% of them experiencing it once a month or even more frequently. The overwhelming form of bullying had been verbal abuse (57%), while consultants were the most frequent (46%) perpetrators. Students who were slightly older, males, those who reported that their medical college did not have a policy on bullying or harassment, and those who felt that adequate support was not in place at their medical college for bullied individuals, were significantly more likely to have experienced bullying. Conclusion: Bullying or harassment is faced by quite a large proportion of medical students in Pakistan. The most frequent perpetrators of this bullying are consultants. Adoption of a policy against bullying and harassment by medical colleges, and providing avenues of support for students who have been bullied may help reduce this phenomenon, as the presence of these two was associated with decreased likelihood of students reporting having being bullied.

Publication

Plos One