Developing the Good Physician: Spirituality affects the development of virtues and moral intuitions in medical students

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The Project on the Good Physician is a national longitudinal study of moral and professional formation of American physicians over the course of medical training. The purpose of this paper is to examine the processes by which spirituality influences the development of three virtues (mindfulness, empathic compassion, and generosity) in medical students as mediated by the moral intuition to care/harm, as well as make predictions as to how this type of study could be generalizable to other populations. Study participants were 563 medical students recruited by the University of Chicago from 24 medical schools across the U.S. (54.7% male, 57% white) who completed measures assessing virtue formation 9 months apart. Path analysis of a cascade model showed that spirituality (but not religiousness) was directly and indirectly related to change in the virtue empathic compassion, and also indirectly related to change in the virtue generosity. Moreover, the moral intuition to care/harm partially mediated the association between spirituality and the virtues of empathic compassion and generosity (but not mindfulness).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Shepherd, AM; Schnitker, SS; Leffel, GM; Oakes Mueller, RA; Curlin, FA; Yoon, JD; Greenway, T

Published Date

  • March 4, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 143 - 154

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1743-9779

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1743-9760

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/17439760.2016.1269185

Citation Source

  • Scopus