The relationship between pharmacy students’ beliefs about medications and their academic achievement in a pharmacy practice counseling course

Document Type


Publication Date




Pharmacists’ beliefs about medications have been identified as a potential factor in how patients are counseled. However, no studies have assessed this relationship.


Third year pharmacy students were surveyed using previously validated questionnaires about medication beliefs, including the BMQ-General (General-Overuse and General-Harm subscales), Benefit, and Perceived Sensitivity to Medications (Sensitive Soma) scales; each is rated on a five-point Likert scale (higher scores represent stronger feelings). Belief profiles were created using two-step cluster analysis. Students also reported demographics and prior work in a pharmacy. Grades from simulated counseling sessions were collected via school records. Student t-test and multivariate linear regression were used to compare beliefs with grades.


Among the 66 responders (84.5% response rate), 54.5% were female, 80.3% white, and 77.3% non-Hispanic; 84.8% reported prior work in a pharmacy. Overall mean (SD) belief scores were General-Overuse 3.12 (0.76), General-Harm 1.83 (0.53), Benefit 3.99 (0.55), and Sensitive Soma 2.37 (0.82). Cluster analyses revealed two beliefs profiles: negative profile (more feelings of overuse, harm, and sensitivity to medications) and positive profile (less feelings of overuse, harm, and sensitivity to medications). Students with positive belief profiles were graded higher by faculty compared to students with negative belief profiles (90.0 vs. 87.2, p = 0.014). Findings remained in a multivariate regression controlling for gender and prior work in a pharmacy.


Findings from this study demonstrate the need for greater understanding about the relationship between pharmacists’ beliefs about medications and patient counseling.


Additional Files