Braking bad news (BBN) to patients is a frequent and stress-evoking task for many physicians. Medical students do already practice this demanding task in communication trainings with simulation patients. The intensity of their stress reaction is comparable to that in the real situation and can lead to a decrease of their BBN skills performance.Therefore, it is important to provide strategies that help medical students to effectively deal with this highly stressful communication task.


The aim of this project is to explore the effects of the strategies «stress arousal reappraisal» and «preparatory learning with worked examples» on medical students’ stress response and BBN skills perfromance. For this purpose, 200 medical students from Swiss universities will be tasked with BBN to simulation patients. BBN skills performance, cardiovascular activity, stress hormone release and the subjective stress perception of the students will be recorded.


SNF project 100019_200831

Project Team

Team IML:
PD Dr. med. Christoph Berendonk, MME, Dr. phil. Felix Schmitz, Prof. Dr. phil. Sissel Guttormsen, Michel Bosshard 

Project partners:
Dr. Patrick Gomez (Uni Lausanne), Univ.-Prof. Dr. Urs Markus Nater (Uni Vienna)

Project Information

Project period: 2021 - 2025

PD Dr. med. et MME Christoph Berendonk Head of Group Practical assessment, Deputy Head of AAE

+41 31 684 62 24
christoph.berendonk (at)