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Communication skills of medical students during the OSCE: Gender-specific differences in a longitudinal trend studyGraf, Joachim; Smolka, Robert; Simoes, Elisabeth; Zipfel, Stephan; Junne, Florian; Holderried, Friederike; Wosnik, Annette; Doherty, Anne M; Menzel, Karina; Herrmann-Werner, Anne (2017-05-02)Abstract Background Communication skills are essential in a patient-centred health service and therefore in medical teaching. Although significant differences in communication behaviour of male and female students are known, gender differences in the performance of students are still under-reported. The aim of this study was to analyse gender differences in communication skills of medical students in the context of an OSCE exam (OSCE = Objective Structured Clinical Examination). Methods In a longitudinal trend study based on seven semester-cohorts, it was analysed if there are gender differences in medical students’ communication skills. The students (self-perception) and standardized patients (SP) (external perception) were asked to rate the communication skills using uniform questionnaires. Statistical analysis was performed by using frequency analyses and t-tests in SPSS 21. Results Across all ratings in the self- and the external perception, there was a significant gender difference in favour of female students performing better in the dimensions of empathy, structure, verbal expression and non-verbal expression. The results of male students deteriorated across all dimensions in the external perception between 2011 and 2014. Discussion & conclusion It is important to consider if gender-specific teaching should be developed, considering the reported differences between female and male students.