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Open Access Short Report

Bullying among medical students in a Saudi medical school

Hasan Ali Alzahrani

Author Affiliations

Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:335  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-335

Published: 2 July 2012



Bullying and sexual harassment of medical students by their teachers appears to be widespread phenomenon. However, nothing is published about its prevalence in conservative countries such as Saudi Arabia. This survey aims to ascertain the extent of these mistreatments among students in a Saudi medical school.


A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted on a group of 542 clinical years’ medical students in a Saudi medical school to explore students' perceptions of their educational environment including exposure to different kinds of bullying. Bullying was defined as “a “persistent behaviour against a medical student that is intimidating, degrading, offensive or malicious and undermines the confidence and self- esteem of the recipient”. Results revealed that more than one quarter (28.0%) of the surveyed students reported exposure to some sort of bullying during their clinical. Ninety percent of the reported insults were verbal, 6% sexual and 4% physical. Males were more exposed but difference was not statistically significant.


Bullying among Saudi medical students is an existing problem. A policy against bullying and harassment should be adopted in all of medical colleges to monitor this phenomenon and support students who have been bullied.

Medical; Students; Bullying; Harassment; Mistreatment; Educational environment