Addressing the Elephant in the Room: A Shame Resilience Seminar for Medical Students.

Published online

Journal Article

PROBLEM: Medical schools face the challenge of developing efficacious resources to promote well-being and foster resilience in students. The authors developed, implemented, and evaluated a shame resilience seminar for second-year clerkship medical students. APPROACH: In February 2018, the authors conducted a 2.5-hour seminar (part of a longitudinal series) about shame, a common and potentially damaging emotion. The seminar consisted of a large group session to introduce the psychology of shame, during which speakers shared their personal experiences with the emotion. Next, a small group session allowed students to discuss their reactions to the large group content in a safe and familiar environment. Before the seminar, faculty development was provided to small group leaders (upper-level medical students and faculty) to increase their comfort leading discussions about shame. Students completed a pre/post retrospective survey immediately following the seminar. OUTCOMES: The authors found statistically significant increases in students' confidence in identifying shame and differentiating it from guilt; in their attitudes regarding the importance of identifying shame reactions in themselves and others; and in their willingness to reach out to others during a shame reaction. Surveys of group leaders revealed no reports of significant student distress during or after the seminar. NEXT STEPS: This seminar represents a reproducible means of promoting shame resilience in medical students. The speakers' personal shame experiences and the safety of the small groups for discussions about shame were central to the seminar's apparent success. Next steps include developing an empirically-derived, longitudinal shame resilience curriculum spanning the medical school years.Written work prepared by employees of the Federal Government as part of their official duties is, under the U.S. Copyright Act, a "work of the United States Government" for which copyright protection under Title 17 of the United States Code is not available. As such, copyright does not extend to the contributions of employees of the Federal Government.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bynum, WE; Adams, AV; Edelman, CE; Uijtdehaage, S; Artino, AR; Fox, JW

Published Date

  • February 5, 2019

Published In

PubMed ID

  • 30730373

Pubmed Central ID

  • 30730373

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1938-808X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002646


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States