Hidden Curriculum in Medical Residency Programs: A Scoping Review

Ghadir Pourbairamian, Shoaleh Bigdeli*, Seyed Arabshahi, Nikoo Yamani, Zohreh Sohrabi, Fazllolah Ahmadi, JOHN SANDARS

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
116 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Hidden curriculum is important in medical education and has numerous, long-lasting effects on medical residency. The present scoping review seeks to investigate, identify, and plot the main concepts relating to hidden curriculum and its dimensions, domains, impacts and factors in medical residency courses based on the main references and evidences.
Methods: Scoping review methodology was used to guide a search of electronic databases for relevant papers. Of the 394 abstracts initially identified, after screening of both abstracts and full-text papers, 43 studies were selected for inclusion in this review. Following abstraction of key information from each study, a content analysis was undertaken.
Results: Eleven themes were identified from the content analysis: (1) Organizational Issues (13.77%), (2) Socio- cultural Issues (10.5%), (3) Professional Issues (13.41%), (4) Communicational Factors (8.7%), (5) Educational
Issues (22.83%), (6) Resident Personal Characteristics (21.01%), and (7) Resident Educational Characteristics (9.78%). Among the extracted effective hidden curriculum factors, the role modeling had the highest frequency and was emphasized in the studies.

Conclusions: However, this study explained and identified the components, elements and also the preparation of the initial format of the hidden curriculum framework of the medical residency program, its results can reduce the negative effects of the hidden curriculum on it. Finally, to conduct more extensive and in-depth studies with different qualitative methods or mixed methods related to the hidden curriculum in different contexts and disciplines of medical residency is recommended to define characteristics of a constructive hidden curriculum of medical residency programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-82
JournalJournal of Advances in Medical Education and Professionalism
Issue number2
Early online date19 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2022


  • Hidden Curriculum
  • Medical Residency
  • Medical Education
  • Curriculum
  • Education


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