gms | German Medical Science

Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

26.09. - 28.09.2013, Graz, Österreich

The social background of medical students in Graz (Austria) – and associations with work-related aspects, preferred strategies, and determinants of health


  • corresponding author Nathalie Burkert - Medizinische Universität Graz, Graz, Österreich
  • Wolfgang Freidl - Medizinische Universität Graz, Graz, Österreich
  • Franziska Großschädl - Medizinische Universität Graz, Graz, Österreich
  • Johanna Muckenhuber - Medizinische Universität Graz, Graz, Österreich
  • Éva Rásky - Medizinische Universität Graz, Graz, Österreich

Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA). Graz, 26.-28.09.2013. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2013. DocP14_08

doi: 10.3205/13gma138, urn:nbn:de:0183-13gma1388

Published: August 20, 2013

© 2013 Burkert et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



The socio-demographic profile of medical students worldwide differs from that of the general population. Studies have shown that medical students worldwide come from households with a higher socioeconomic status. Therefore, the aim of our study was to analyse the social background of medical students in Graz (Austria). Additionally, associations of the social background with aspects rated as being important for work, determinants of health, and preferred strategies in their job were analysed. 664 medical students were questioned about socio-demographic characteristics, their judgement of important professional aspects, regarding preferred strategies for medical activities and determinants of health. Statistics were calculated on a descriptive basis as well as using the Mann-Whitney-U-test. Our results show that 27% of the students have at least one parent who works as a physician, 23% have a non-medical academic background, and only 2.2% have parents who work in unqualified jobs. Students with a low social background rate social prestige and income as being less important. Additionally, these students state more often that a physician should inform patients about the causes of diseases, and that the health behaviour of people who are at risk should be changed. In contrast, students with a higher social background are more convinced that when you take care of yourself, you will stay healthy and that it does not depend on fate whether you are healthy or ill. Overall, our study has shown that although students are admitted to the medical university based on a proprietary test, the lower social classes still do not seem to have the same access options as the higher social classes. Therefore, targeted interventions are necessary in order to provide students from all social backgrounds with equal opportunities to become a physician [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17], [18].


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