Why medical students engage in academic dishonesty and their views on its effects on them and the profession

  • P Musau
  • F.O Boibanda


Background: Academic dishonesty in its various forms is common in institutions of learning the world over. The magnitude in Kenyan medical schools, reasons for it and its effects have not been adequately explored. This study established reasons why medical students in a Kenyan medical school engaged in academic dishonesty and what they thought the effects are on them and the medical profession.
Objective: To establish reasons for engaging in academic dishonesty and the perceived effects on medical students and the medical profession.
Design: Cross sectional study using self-administered questionnaire.
Setting: The School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret-Kenya.
Subjects: One hundred and fifty-six students in their clinical years of study.
Results: Two thirds of the respondents stated that academic dishonesty was because the society practiced dishonesty as a way of life, a quarter believed it gave them an edge over their competitors while the rest either complied with their lecturers’ demands or engaged in it to avoid being disadvantaged. Majority of the students said that academic dishonesty led to disrepute to medical schools, dishonest doctors and dangerous medical practices.
Conclusion: Medical students engage in academic dishonesty because of society’s acceptance of dishonesty, to better their grades and to comply with extraneous expectations.


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eISSN: 0012-835X