Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Barbara A Golden, PsyD, ABPP

Third Advisor

Harry J Morris, DO, MPH, CPE, FACOFP


The issue of professionalism in the training of medical students has become a major focus within the field of medical education. For years, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has measured the quality of osteopathic medical students (DO students) interpersonal and communication skills through SP (SP) encounters in which SPs rate the DO students relative to eight criteria (items) which, in aggregate, are known as the Professionalism Assessment Rating Scale (PARS). These criteria are linked in the literature to patient outcomes, patient adherence, patient satisfaction, and malpractice. This study investigated the psychometric properties of the PARS, based on data from the SP encounters of 205 osteopathic medical students from a PCOM class during their first three years of medical school. Results showed the PARS to be comprised of a single, highly reliable factor. This single factor accounted for between 58.25-72.92% of the variance across 13 separate SP encounters for which the total scale coefficient alpha ranged from .84-.95. Results of an analysis of variance indicated that performance significantly improved across each of the three years (M Year 1 = 6.30, SD = .45; M Year 2 = 6.40, SD = .44; M Year 3 = 6.48, SD = .58) and that the DO students improved consistently over the 3 years. A positive linear correlation was found between Year 1 and Year 2 (r = .46, r2 = .22), Year 2 and Year 3 (r = .42, r2 = .18) and Year 1 and Year 3 (r = .36, r2 = .13). PARS scores were shown to correlate significantly with Clinical Clerkship Evaluations (CCEs) in three of the 39 SP encounters. Educational and clinical implications of these findings are discussed, and additional suggestions for future research are put forward.