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Medical students' disease
Medical students' disease, also known as hypochondriasis of medical students, is a condition frequently reported in medical students, who perceive themselves to be experiencing the symptoms of the disease(s) they are studying. The condition is associated with the fear of contracting the disease in question. Some authors suggested that the condition must be referred to as nosophobia rather than "hypochondriasis", because the quoted studies show a very low percentage of hypochondriacal character of the condition, and hence the term "hypochondriasis" would have ominous therapeutic and prognostic indications. The reference suggests that the condition is associated with immediate preoccupation with the symptoms in question, leading the student to become unduly aware of various casual psychological and physiological dysfunctions; cases show little correlation with the severity of psychopathology, but rather with accidental factors related to learning and experience.
Additional recommended knowledge
Baars (2001) writes:
Hodges (2004), reviewing the literature, said that "the first descriptions of medical students' disease appeared in the 1960s." He may have been referring to the phrase, for the phenomenon itself was noted much earlier. George Lincoln Walton (1908) reported that
Hodges (2004), reviewing the literature, said that it was suggested in the 1960s that:
Hodges went on to describe work by Moss-Morris and Pétrie who saw medical students' disease as "a normal perceptual process, rather than a form of hypochondriasis." Learning about a disease "creates a mental schema or representation of the illness which includes the label of the illness and the symptoms associated with the condition. Once this representation is formed, symptoms or bodily sensations that the individual is currently experiencing which are consistent with the schema may be noticed, while inconsistent symptoms are ignored."
Howes and Salkovskis (1998) noted that "medical students frequently develop fears and symptoms of illness. This has been termed medical student's disease, nosophobia, hypochondriasis of medical students, and medicalstudentitis." They mentioned two studies, one concluding that about 70% of medical students have groundless medical fears during their studies, and one which found that 78.8% of a randomly chosen sample of medical students showed a history of "medical student disease." However, they cite a number of studies showing a similar incidence of hypochondria in law students and other non-medical students, which they said call into question "the widely held view that medical students are more likely than others to have excessive anxiety about their health."
In his comic classic Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome describes the effect as experienced by a layman:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Medical_students'_disease". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|