Perception of Shame in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Training

Kevin Christopher McMains, Jennifer L Peel, Erik K. Weitzel, Hirak Der-Torossian, Marion Couch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Objective This survey was developed to assess the prevalence and effects of the perception of shame in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery residency training in the United States. Study Design Survey. Setting US otolaryngology training programs. Subjects Faculty and trainees in US otolaryngology training programs. Methods A 14-item survey to assess the prevalence of the experience of shame and the attitudes toward use of shame in otolaryngology residency training was sent to all otolaryngology-head and neck surgery program directors for distribution among their respective faculty and resident cohorts. Results A total of 267 responses were received (women, 24.7%; men, 75.3%): 42.7% of respondents were trainees; 7.0% of trainees thought that shame was a necessary/effective tool, compared with 11.4% of faculty; 50% of respondents felt that they had been personally shamed during residency; and 69.9% of respondents had witnessed another trainee being shamed during residency training. Trainees were most commonly shamed in the operating room (78.4%). Otolaryngology faculty members did the shaming 95.1% of the time. Although shaming prompted internal reflection/self-improvement in 57.4% of trainees, it also caused loss of self-confidence in 52.5%. Trainees who had been shamed were more likely to view shame as an appropriate educational tool (P

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-790
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015



  • education
  • environment of learning
  • faculty
  • otolaryngology
  • teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery

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