Effect of history of psychological counseling on selection of applicants for residencies

K. Oppenheimer, M. Miller, P. Forney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The stress of medical education and its consequences are widely recognized and acknowledged. However, many students may be reluctant to seek help for stress-related problems because they are concerned over the ramifications such a decision may have on their career opportunities. The purpose of the present study was to determine the extent to which an applicant's history of having received psychological counseling for stress-related problems influenced residency program directors' perceptions of such applicants seeking admission to residency programs. Five hundred twenty-three residency directors in six medical specialties (pediatrics, internal medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, and surgery) rated a hypothetical residency applicant. The student's gender and history of psychological counseling were manipulated, but their basic qualifications remained constant. The directors rated the likelihood that they would invite the student for an interview and accept the applicant for the residency. Analysis of variance showed that the directors in pediatrics, family medicine, and psychiatry viewed the hypothetical applicant more favorably overall than directors in internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and surgery. The program directors rated female applicants more favorably than their male counterparts and had a strong bias against inviting for an interview or accepting into their programs students who had a history of psychological counseling. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-508
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1987


  • Counseling
  • Human
  • Internship and residency
  • Personnel management
  • Personnel selection
  • Stress, psychological
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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