Objectives: To determine the percentage of students involved in extracurricular activities (EAs), explore relationships between participation in EAs and students' characteristics, and investigate students' perceptions (i.e., motives and barriers) towards participation in EAs. Methods: An online, anonymous, random, cross-sectional, self-rating survey was administered during spring 2015-2016 to second-year and third-year students (n=340). Chi-square test was used to explore relationships between participation in EAs and students' characteristics. Mann-Whitney U-test was used to compare the mean 5-point Likert scale responses according to students' characteristics. Statistical significance was determined as p<0.05. Results: Two hundred thirty-seven students participated in the survey (n=237/340, response rate: 69.7%). Only 143 students (60.3%, n=140/237) participated in EAs, and this percentage significantly differed by gender (χ2(1, N=237)=4.3205, p<0.037), nationality (χ2(1, N=237)=18.7069, p<0.000) and cumulative grade point average (cGPA, χ2(1, N=237)=17.8296, p<0.000). The top three motives towards participation in EAs were: "improve resume" (83.5%, n=198), "improve networking skills" (82.7%, n=196) and "improve teamwork skills" (76.8%, n=182). The top three barriers towards participation in EAs were: "lack of time" (61.2%, n=145), "lack of equal opportunities in EAs" (57.8%, n=137) and "lack of curricular emphasis of EAs" (52.7%, n=125). There was a statistically significant difference of means between male (mean=2.8) and female (mean=3.2) students regarding the following barrier: "affect academic performance negatively" (U=5389.5, p<0.002). Conclusions: The participation rate in EAs was satisfactory, and positively related to students' characteristics of male gender, non-Saudi nationality and high cGPA. Medical schools should facilitate all potential motives and resolve all associated barriers towards participation in EAs.
Almasry, M., Kayali, Z., Alsaad, R., Alhayaza, G., Ahmad, M. S., Obeidat, A., & Abu-Zaid, A. (2017). Perceptions of preclinical medical students towards extracurricular activities. International Journal of Medical Education, 8, 285–289. https://doi.org/10.5116/ijme.5973.297a