ABSTRACT Objective: This study aimed to determine variables associated (predictors and correlates) with the learning of assessment and supportive skills in the context of a communication skills training for medical residents. Methods: Learning was measured by comparing residents’ communication skills in a simulated consultation before and after a communication skills training. Communication skills were transcribed and tagged with a computer-assisted program. Potential variables associated with learning (residents’ characteristics, contextual characteristics and pre-training communication skills) were measured before the training and entered in regression analysis. Results: Fifty-six residents followed the training between 2002 and 2006. Poor pre-training assessment and supportive skills predicted the respective learning of these skills. Better assessment skills’ learning was predicted by copings (i.e. lower level of emotional coping), lower levels of self-efficacy and depersonalization. Better supportive skills’ learning was predicted by a lower work experience and associated with a higher training attendance rate. Conclusions: Predictors and correlates of assessment and supportive skills learning were different. Trainers needed to detect certain residents’ characteristics (i.e. depersonalization) in order to optimize assessment skills learning. Trainers needed to be aware that supportive skills are difficult to learn and to teach and may need more training hours.
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