Project on the Good Physician: Further Evidence for the Validity of a Moral Intuitionist Model of Virtuous Caring.
THEORY: In the Project on the Good Physician, the authors propose a moral intuitionist model of virtuous caring that places the virtues of Mindfulness, Empathic Compassion, and Generosity at the heart of medical character education. HYPOTHESES: Hypothesis 1a: The virtues of Mindfulness, Empathic Compassion, and Generosity will be positively associated with one another (convergent validity). Hypothesis 1b: The virtues of Mindfulness and Empathic Compassion will explain variance in the action-related virtue of Generosity beyond that predicted by Big Five personality traits alone (discriminant validity). Hypothesis 1c: Virtuous students will experience greater well-being ("flourishing"), as measured by four indices of well-being: life meaning, life satisfaction, vocational identity, and vocational calling (predictive validity). Hypothesis 1d: Students who self-report higher levels of the virtues will be nominated by their peers for the Gold Humanism Award (predictive validity). Hypothesis 2a-2c: Neuroticism and Burnout will be positively associated with each other and inversely associated with measures of virtue and well-being. METHOD: The authors used data from a 2011 nationally representative sample of U.S. medical students (n = 499) in which medical virtues (Mindfulness, Empathic Compassion, and Generosity) were measured using scales adapted from existing instruments with validity evidence. RESULTS: Supporting the predictive validity of the model, virtuous students were recognized by their peers to be exemplary doctors, and they were more likely to have higher ratings on measures of student well-being. Supporting the discriminant validity of the model, virtues predicted prosocial behavior (Generosity) more than personality traits alone, and students higher in the virtue of Mindfulness were less likely to be high in Neuroticism and Burnout. CONCLUSIONS: Data from this descriptive-correlational study offered additional support for the validity of the moral intuitionist model of virtuous caring. Applied to medical character education, medical school programs should consider designing educational experiences that intentionally emphasize the cultivation of virtue.
Leffel, GM; Oakes Mueller, RA; Ham, SA; Karches, KE; Curlin, FA; Yoon, JD
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