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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in The American Journal of Psychiatry, Volume 161, Issue 8, November 2018, Pages 1477-1482.

The published version is available at Copyright © American Psychiatric Association


OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to compare psychiatrists with other physicians on measures of academic performance before, during, and after medical school.

METHOD: More than three decades of data for graduates of Jefferson Medical College (N=5,701) were analyzed. Those who pursued psychiatry were compared to physicians in seven other specialties on 18 performance measures. Analysis of covariance was used to control for gender effect.

RESULTS: Compared to other physicians, psychiatrists scored higher on measures of verbal ability and general information before medical school and on evaluations of knowledge and skills in behavioral sciences during medical school, but they scored lower on United States Medical Licensing Examinations step 3.

CONCLUSIONS: The results generally confirmed the authors' expectations about psychiatrists' academic performance. More attention should be paid to the general medical education of psychiatrists.

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