Medical Students and Money: Investigating Medical Students’ Perceptions of Money, Debt, and Spending




Feikema, Megan

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This grounded-theory study explores how medical students perceive debt and spending and discusses how their perceptions may impact their utilization of money and debt. To do this, interviews were conducted with current medical students and residents. In accordance with grounded theory methodology, interview field notes were coded for emergent themes and compared using constant comparison. Several themes emerged throughout the interviews: the necessity of debt, the abstract nature of debt, debt’s effect on conscientious spending, and the importance of freedom. Medical students viewed debt as inevitable; they saw it as a necessary investment in order to become a physician. Students also held a very abstract and distant view of their debt, and generally did not see their lifestyle or spending decisions during medical school as impacting their financial situation. Additionally, debt-free students were more conscientious about their daily financial practices than students who had already accumulated debt. Freedom, including financial freedom, career choice, and location, was the most important factor in being debt-free and paying off debt for all the study’s participants.



Medical students., Debt., Money., Medical school.