A Case-control Study on Personal and Academic Determinants of Dropout among Health Profession Students

  •  Thamir Aldahmashi    
  •  Thekra Algholaiqa    
  •  Ziyad Alrajhi    
  •  Thamer Althunayan    
  •  Irfan Anjum    
  •  Bader Almuqbil    


An adequate number of healthcare providers is an essential factor in the prosperity of a population. One challenge faced by universities is student dropout. This case-control study aimed to examine the academic, psychological, medical, social, as well as female-related risk factors at a health-sciences university in Saudi Arabia in the academic year 2016-2017. The study included a total of 723 students, of whom 143 dropped out. A validated questionnaire was used to assess risk factors. Comparisons were made using chi-square test with the outcome of interest being dropout at the end of the academic year. Around 20% of students had dropped out by the end of the academic year 2016-2017. Significant risk factors for dropout included male gender, lack of previous university degree, having a primary as well as a secondary specialty choice, not matching into the first specialty choice, English language, and female-related risk factors, such as pregnancy. Health-care education is an inherently stressful environment where dropout is a concerning phenomenon. It is imperative to recognize risk factors and develop strategies to ensure students’ successful adaptation and progress. Policymakers should be aware of the impact of academic and gender-related factors to address and help limit the number of students dropping out of highly needed professions.

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