International Journal of Anatomical Sciences 2011, 2(2): 26-30

Research Paper

 Evaluation of the Emotional Impact of Cadaver Dissection in Medical Students at the Entry Level

Melani Rajendran S, Semmal M, Buhari AJ, Bhashi S, Rajendran P.

Department of Anatomy; Department of Physiology;Department of Psychology;Department of Microbiology, Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.

Abstract: Teaching anatomy is based on cadaver dissection. Working with cadavers through active dissection constitutes a potential stressor in medical education. To reduce the anxiety level by mentally preparing the student before going to the dissection hall, two questionnaires were distributed among 140 first year medical students. The pre-dissection questionnaire comprised of questions relating to demographics and the first encounter with a cadaver. Then all the students were randomly divided into two groups. One group was counseled psychologically prior to dissection and the other group had no such preparation. After the first dissection class all the students were surveyed by a questionnaire which included physical and cognitive symptoms of anxiety, resulting from exposure to the dissection hall at the first visit. There was a significant difference p<0.05 in the rate of anxiety between study and control group in the initial visit. The initial preparation of the student by psychological priming reduces the stress levels, so that the study group experienced less emotional effects during dissection when compared to the control group in relation to exposure to cadavers.