The Open UniversitySkip to content

Factors related to medical students’ and doctors’ attitudes towards older patients: A systematic review

Samra, Rajvinder; Cox, Tom; Gordon, Adam L; Conroy, Simon; Lucassen, Mathijs and Griffiths, Amanda (2017). Factors related to medical students’ and doctors’ attitudes towards older patients: A systematic review. Age and Ageing, 46(6) pp. 911–919.

Full text available as:
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (281kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Studies have sought to identify the possible determinants of medical students’ and doctors’ attitudes towards older patients by examining relationships with a variety of factors: demographic; educational/training; exposure to older people; personality/cognitive; and job/career factors. This review collates and synthesises these findings.
An electronic search of ten databases was performed (ABI/Inform, ASSIA, British Nursing Index, CINAHL, Informa Health, Medline, PsycINFO, Science Direct, Scopus, and Web of Science) through to 7 February 2017.
The main search identified 2332 articles; 37 studies met the eligibility criteria set. All included studies analysed self-reported attitudes based on correlational analyses or difference testing, therefore causation could not be determined. However, self-reported positive attitudes towards older patients were related to: (i) intrinsic motivation for studying medicine; (ii) increased preference for working with older patients; and (iii) good previous relationships with older people. Additionally, more positive attitudes were also reported in those with higher knowledge scores but these may relate to the use of a knowledge assessment which is an indirect measure of attitudes (i.e. Palmore’s Facts on Aging Quizzes). Four out of the five high quality studies included in this review reported more positive attitudes in females compared to males.
This paper identifies factors associated with medical students’ and doctors’ positive attitudes towards older patients. Future research could bring greater clarity to the relationship between knowledge and attitudes by using a knowledge measure which is distinct from attitudes and also measures knowledge that is relevant to clinical care.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2017 The Author
ISSN: 1468-2834
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
ESRC-Funded PhD Studentship: Exploring attitudes towards and stereotypes of older people: A mixed-methods investigation in hospital settingsES/H014659/1ESRC
Keywords: physician, medical student, attitude, older adult, systematic review
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Health and Wellbeing PRA (Priority Research Area)
Item ID: 49053
Depositing User: Rajvinder Samra
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2017 15:12
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2018 09:29
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU