Evaluating self-help support groups for medical students
Goetzel, R. Z., Croen, L. G., Shelov, S., Boufford, J. I., & Levin, G.
Self-help support groups for medical students represent one strategy for dealing with the emotional stresses of medical training and the diminished human sensitivity of students that often accompanies that experience. Support groups at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine were evaluated by 26 students who completed a nine-part questionnaire. The respondents indicated that they were primarily drawn to these groups because of a desire for social affiliation and an opportunity to express their feelings in a “safe” environment. Members shared in the leadership responsibilities of the group and dealt with external personal problems of the students rather than with the internal group dynamics. The gains derived from participation in these groups included opportunities for nonprofessional contact with faculty members, getting help and support from fellow students, and participation in stimulating discussions about the medical field. Students rated the groups as “meaningful” and expressed a desire for more frequent meetings.