Exploring barriers to teaching behavioural and social sciences in medical education

Andrea Litva, Sarah Peters

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Context: Tomorrow's Doctors provides guidance about what is considered core knowledge for medical graduates. One core area of knowledge identified is the individual in society: graduates are required to understand the social and cultural environments in which medicine is practised in the UK. Yet, despite the presence of the behavioural and social sciences (B&SS) in medical curricula in the UK for the past 30 years, barriers to their implementation in medical education remain. Objective: This study sought to discover medical educators' perceptions of the barriers to the implementation of B&SS. Methods: Medical educationalists in all UK medical schools were asked to complete a survey identifying what they felt were the barriers they had experienced to the implementation of B&SS teaching in medical education. Results: A comparison of our findings with the literature revealed that these barriers have not changed since the implementation of B&SS in medical education. Moreover, the barriers remain similar across medical schools with differing ethos and strategies. Conclusions: Various agendas within the hidden curricula create barriers to effective B&SS learning in medical education and thus need further exploration and attention. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2008.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)309-314
    Number of pages5
    JournalMedical education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


    • *attitude
    • Behavioural sciences
    • Curriculum
    • Social sciences
    • Undergraduate


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