Courses in medical ethics are becoming an integral part of many medical school curricula in Europe. At the medical school of the University of Copenhagen, a course on philosophy of medicine has been compulsory for all medical students since 1988. The effect of such courses on the ethical awareness and reasoning of medical students is not well understood and we have therefore found it of interest to study the effects of the Copenhagen course. For the study, we used a Danish version of the Defining Issues Test (DIT) which measures development in moral reasoning (Rest J R, 1979 Development in Judging Moral Issues. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis). The study was conducted as a pre- and post-test study without a control group, and the subjects were all medical students attending the course in the autumn of 1993. The results show that moral reasoning scores measured by the DIT increase significantly, and we argue that this increase can only be explained as an effect of the course.
Keywords: Adult; Decision Making; Denmark; Education, Medical, Undergraduate; Ethics, Medical; Humans; Morals; Social Responsibility