Digital Public Defence: Anna Belfrage

M.Sc. Anna Belfrage at Institute of Basic Medical Sciences will be defending the thesis “Physicians’ perceived mastery of work: predictors and clinical consequences - A 20-year longitudinal study of a nationwide cohort” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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The University of Oslo is closed and the public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

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Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

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Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor emeritus Eivind Meland, University of Bergen
  • Second opponent: Associate professor Marie Gustafsson Sendén, Stockholms universitet
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Associate professor Anne Olaug Olsen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Gunnar Tellnes, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Researcher Lars Lien, University of Oslo


This thesis examines 1) long-term predictors of perceived mastery of clinical work ten and twenty years after medical school, 2) two subgroups, one with low and one with increased perceived mastery over a ten-year period, and 3) the influence of physicians’ own lifestyle habits on their preventive counselling on similar lifestyle habits among their patients. In total 1052 medical students and doctors have been followed up by postal questionnaires at six measurement points over 20 years (between 1993/94 and 2014).

Findings are 1) the risky avoidant behaviour of using alcohol to cope with stress during medical school predicted physicians’ low perceived mastery both 10 years after medical school, and stable low mastery 10 to 20 years. 2) Vulnerability personality trait in medical school predicted stable low mastery, and it had a negative impact on physicians’ patient counselling 20 years after graduation. 3) Perceived recording skills at medical school predicted high mastery of clinical work both 10 and 20 years later, whereas taking up leading positions were associated with increased perceived mastery of clinical work 10 to 20 years after leaving medical school.

Doctors with a high level of vulnerability personality traits counselled less frequently about physical activity. However, when they themselves were physically active, they counselled more often about exercise. This indicates that other factors, such as doctor’s own lifestyle behavior, can compensate negative effects of their susceptible personality traits.

Vulnerability personality trait consists of items such as fear of being criticized. The findings in this thesis indicate the importance of giving support to medical students and young doctors about handling stressful situations, such as meeting critics. Interventions that promote learning of new skills, and meeting new demanding situations could help them to develop better coping strategies and higher perceived mastery of clinical work.

Additional information

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Published Apr. 22, 2020 1:18 PM - Last modified Dec. 7, 2021 1:07 PM