Kevin T. Liou, Daniel S. Jamorabo, Rabih M. Geha, Constance M. Crawford, Paul George & Fred J. Schiffman
Intolerance of ambiguity among medical students is associated with negative attitudes towards psychosocially complex patients. In this paper, the authors evaluated the feasibility of a 3.5-hour workshop aimed at fostering tolerance for ambiguity in medical students through semi-structured interactions with horses that functioned as experiential surrogates for ambiguity. Among 26 first-year medical students who participated in the feasibility assessment, an overwhelming majority rated the workshop as academically valuable and recommended that it be offered again in the future. After feasibility was established, an additional group of 7 first-year medical students and 5 fourth-year students completed Budner’s Tolerance of Ambiguity scale before and after the workshop to provide preliminary data on its effectiveness. The post-workshop mean scores on the Budner scale were lower than pre-workshop mean scores, suggesting that students developed greater tolerance for ambiguity following the workshop. This difference was statistically significant among the first-year students, but not among the fourth-year students. Our findings demonstrate that the equine-facilitated workshop is feasible and can potentially help medical students develop greater tolerance for ambiguity.