PURPOSE: This study examined medical students' interest in geriatrics: Are knowledge, positive attitudes, and prior experience with older adults associated with an interest in geriatric medicine? DESIGN AND METHODS: Entering University of Michigan medical students completed three surveys: the Revised Facts on Aging Quiz, the University of California at Los Angeles Geriatric Attitudes Scale, and the Maxwell-Sullivan Attitudes Scale. The students were also asked questions about their prior experience with older adults and their interest in geriatric medicine. RESULTS: The results indicate that incoming medical students have minimal knowledge about aging, moderately positive attitudes toward older adults, and low interest in geriatric medicine. Having more positive attitudes toward older adults (ss =.28) and having cared for older persons prior to medical school (ss =.14) were associated with greater interest in geriatric medicine. IMPLICATIONS: These findings suggest that interventions to increase the number of geriatric-oriented physicians should focus on influencing learners' attitudes through experiences in the care of older adults.
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