Open J Psychiatry Allied Sci. 2021;12:48-54. doi: 10.5958/2394-2061.2021.00015.X. Epub 2020 Sep 26.
A cross-sectional study of attitude towards psychiatry among undergraduate medical students.
BK SK, B NR, HR V.
Background: Psychiatric disorders are common, affecting millions of population worldwide. Patients with psychiatric disorders, psychiatrists as professionals, and psychiatry as a subject are seen in negative attitudes. Prejudices and negative attitudes exist among medical professionals as well. Aims: This study aims to know the attitude of undergraduate medical students towards psychiatry and compare the attitude among students with or without exposure to clinical psychiatry postings. Materials and methods: This is a descriptive, cross-sectional study conducted at a medical college, Karnataka, South India. Undergraduate students belonging to all phases and consenting for the study were the participants. They were considered into two groups, students not exposed to psychiatry clinical posting and students exposed to psychiatry clinical postings, respectively. Apart from collecting sociodemographic details, a self-administered Attitude Towards Psychiatry‑30 items questionnaire was used and t-test, chi-square/Fisher’s exact test were used for statistical analyses. Result: The sample consisted of 484 students, of which 52.3% vs 47.7% of students were not exposed to psychiatry vs exposed to psychiatry clinical postings respectively. Overall students reported having a positive attitude towards psychiatry. We found 96.1% of students with clinical exposure to psychiatry have a better attitude compared to 86.9% of students not exposed to psychiatry clinical postings. Conclusion: A positive attitude towards psychiatry is necessary for better care of patients as well as to reduce stigma regarding mental illness. As clinical exposure improves the positive attitude, there is always a scope for improvements in the form of better psychiatry training at the undergraduate level.
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