Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Anatomy, AIIMS, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

2 Department of Clinical Psychology, TISS, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

3 Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

4 Department of CFM, AIIMS, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India


BACKGROUND: Human anatomy instruction is mostly focused on cadaver dissection and prosected 
specimen examination. Exposure to cadaver dissection can be a stressful experience that may cause 
a wide variety of symptoms among students of health sciences. To compare and evaluate the effect 
of in‑vitro and in‑vivo exposure on cadaveric anxiety, disgust propensity and sensitivity, and attitude 
toward death and dying among 1st‑year medical and nursing students.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: An open‑label randomized trial (matched‑control experimental 
design) was conducted among 127 1st‑year Medical and Nursing students from a selected Institute of 
National Importance, Bhopal, India during 2015. The participants were divided into an experimental 
and control group based on matched trait anxiety scores using the Trait Anxiety Inventory. Followed 
by preassessment, video demonstration with cadaver dissection (in vitro exposure) was then 
administered to the experimental group, while the control group had direct exposure to cadaver 
dissection (in vivo exposure).
RESULTS: The study showed that there was a statistically significant difference in state anxiety 
related to cadaver dissection in the experimental group (P = 0.01). However, video‑demonstration of 
cadaver dissection did not have any effect on disgust propensity and sensitivity and attitude toward 
death and dying.
CONCLUSION: The findings provided evidence that video‑demonstration of cadaver dissection 
reduced anxiety, although it did not have any effect on disgust and attitudes of death. The dissection 
hall experience may evoke feelings of anxiety and disgust that need to be addressed through advanced 
preparedness and coping strategies, especially among medical and nursing students.


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