Predicting future performance in medical students. A longitudinal study examining the effects of resilience on low and higher performing students

Introduction: Medical students have high rates of distress and burnout, exacerbated by a high academic workload. Resilience is stated to mitigate such stress, and even allow positive adaptations in the face of such challenges. Despite this, no research has examined the relationship of resilience on the academic performance of medical students.

Methods: The goal of our study was to investigate the association between resilience on academic performance. We surveyed all year 2, 3, and 4 medical students (n = 160), and combined this with data on past and future course performance. We conducted an analysis of the internal consistency and validity of the RS-14, suggesting two factors: which we represent as self-assuredness and drive. We then analyzed future course performance using multiple regression.

Results: Models utilizing the combined RS-14 score suggested past-performance as the only significant predictor of future course performance. Considering self-assuredness and drive as separate predictors demonstrated self-assuredness to be a predictor of improved performance in lower-than-average students, whilst drive was a predictor of improvement in higher-than-average students.

Conclusions: We suggest that the conceptualization of resilience needs greater nuance, and consideration in tandem with broader psychosocial concepts, as it may exert different effects for different students.