Cross-Cultural Construct Validity Study of Professionalism of Vietnamese Medical Students

Vo Thanh Nhan, Claudio Violato, Pham Le An, Tanya N. Beran

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7 Scopus citations


Background: Although many studies have made efforts to define and assess medical professionalism, few have addressed issues of construct validity. Purposes: The purpose of this article is to explore further construct validity of medical professionalism employing exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Methods: The 32-item instrument by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) was adapted to assess the perceptions on medical professionalism of Vietnamese medical students. A sample of 1,196 (487 first-year, 341 third-year, 368 sixth-year) medical students participated voluntarily in the completion of the instrument. The data were randomly divided into three samples to assess the construct validity of medical professionalism by empirically deriving and confirming a model of professionalism. Results: Exploratory and confirmatory factor analytic techniques resulted in a six-factor well-fitting model with a comparative fit index of.963 and root mean square error approximation of.029, 90% confidence interval [016,.039]: integrity, social responsibility, professional practice habits, ensuring quality care, altruism, and self-awareness. Social responsibility was perceived least important, and self-awareness was perceived most important by Vietnamese medical students. These constructs of medical professionalism were relatively similar with those found in Taiwanese medical students and the ABIM definitions but with some Vietnamese cultural differences. Conclusions: Although the results confirm that medical professionalism is a somewhat culturally sensitive construct, it nonetheless has many elements of medical professionalism that are universal. Future research should be conducted to test the generalizability of our six-factor model of professionalism with various samples (e.g., residents, physicians), cultures, and language groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
in the early 1990s after the success of the humanism project in 1980s. Four other professional organizations that have identified medical professionalism as an important competency for physicians are the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the National Board of Medical Examiners, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.2,3,12–14


  • competencies of medical students
  • humanistic characteristics
  • medical professionalism
  • professional attitudes


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