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Mindset and its relationship to anxiety in clinical veterinary students

Abstract

This study investigated anxiety, one aspect of mental wellbeing, in fourth year veterinary students before the final clinical section of their course (intramural rotations (IMR)). It explored the relationship between reported anxiety and ‘mindset’: an individual’s view on the ability to develop (eg, improve intelligence). Questionnaires were completed by 130 students. Students were mindset typed for ability and personality and rated their anxiety towards IMR. Students with different overall mindsets (‘strong growth’, ‘growth’ and ‘fixed’) were invited to participate in focus groups, to discuss causes of their anxieties. Quantitative results indicated 63.1 per cent of students had strong growth or growth mindsets overall, and that females were more fixed mindset-oriented than males. Females reported significantly greater anxiety than males. A fixed mindset view overall, and of ability, were significantly correlated with increased anxiety, while mindset view of personality was not. Students provided various reasons for their anxieties, which differed with mindset. Fixed mindset students (n=2) focused on concerns about knowledge, whereas growth students (n=6) were also anxious about work-life balance and future work. Growth students saw clinicians as future colleagues, rather than intimidating teachers. Students reported an awareness of being graded, although growth students were aware that IMR are learning opportunities.

  • mindset
  • anxiety
  • clinical education
  • mental health
  • preparation for practice
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