First year medical students attitude toward anatomical corpse dissection and its relationship with their personality

Vol. 56 No. 1, 2015


Mihai Horatiu Bob, Codruta Alina Popescu, Soimita Mihaela Suciu, Anca Dana Buzoianu

Introduction: Anatomy is an important and intense mandatory course offered during the first year of medical school. Corpse dissection is very important in Anatomy teaching, and first year students will encounter, most likely for the first time, a dead human body during Anatomy labs. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the anxiety experienced by medical students with no previous corpse dissection background just before, after a week, and then after a month of dissection labs, and to investigate the relationship between students personality and their attitude towards dissection. Subjects and Methods: 138 first year English Section medical students from the Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, completed a personality inventory, an anxiety scale and a questionnaire to assess their attitudes and reactions to anatomical dissection. Results: The level of anxiety reported by students increased from before the first dissection encounter to after one month of dissection labs. Conclusions: There is a relationship between the Five Factor model of personality and students attitudes towards dissection. Medical students could be better prepared for their first corpse dissection experience if the preparation before dissection would take in consideration their psychological traits.

Corresponding author: Codruta Alina Popescu, Lecturer, PhD; e-mail:

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