Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Medical students' attitudes to psychiatry

  • D. G. Wilkinson (a1), S. Greeer (a1) and B. K. Toone (a1)
Synopsis
Synopsis

A questionnaire was developed to elicit medical students' attitudes to psychiatry. All 94 second year clinical students at a London teaching hospital completed the instrument before and after an 8-week psychiatric clerkship. Although two-thirds of the sample had mixed feelings about psychiatry initially, by the end of the clerkship the students' general attitude to psychiatry had changed significantly in a favourable direction. Analysis of 18 specific attitudes to psychiatry revealed that the students' first responses showed anticipatory bias and lack of uniformity. Later, however, only two specific attitudes had changed significantly: more students agreed that ‘problems presented by psychiatric patients are often particularly interesting and challenging’, and more of them disagreed with the statement that ‘psychiatric patients, generally speaking, are not easy to like’. The sexes differed on one attitude; more males than females agreed that “psychiatry is too inexact; it seems to lack a proper scientific basis”. Finally, the proportion of students who considered the possibility of specializing in psychiatry rose from 6 to 17% during the clerkship. The students' reasons for or against such a career are discussed.

Copyright
Corresponding author
1Address for correspondence: Dr D. G. Wilkinson, MRC Unit for Epidemiological Studies in Psychiatry, University Department of Psychiatry, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Morningside Park, Edinburgh EH10 5HS.
References
Hide All
Burra P., Kalin R., Leichner P., Waldron J. J., Handforth J. R., Jarriett F. J. & Amara A. B. (1982). The ATP30 – a scale for measuring medical students' attitudes to psychiatry. Medical Education 16, 3138.
Ghadirian A. (1972). A survey of medical students' responses to psychiatric education. L'Evolusion Psychiatrique 3, 595604. Toulouse, France. (Cited by Ghadarian & Engelsmann, 1982).
Ghadirian A. M. & Engelsmann F. (1982). Medical students' attitudes towards psychiatry: A 10 year comparison. Medical Education 16, 3943.
Goldney R. D. & Pilowski I. (1976). Assessment of insight change in medical students doing psychiatry. Medical Education 10, 503507.
Harris C. M. (1981). Medical stereotypes. British Medical Journal 283, 16761677.
Hill D. (1960). Acceptance of psychiatry by the medical student. British Medical Journal i, 917918.
Hutt R., Parsons D. & Pearson R. (1981). The timing of and reasons for doctors' career decisions. Health Trends 13, 1720.
Kreitman N. (1962). Psychiatric Orientation: a study of attitudes among psychiatrists. Journal of Mental Science 108, 317328.
Lancet (1979). Editorial: Who puts students off psychiatry? i, 481.
Larson D. B., Orleans C. S. & Houpt J. L. (1980). Evaluating a clinical psychiatry course using process and outcome measures. Journal of Medical Education 55, 10061012.
Lau A. Y. H. & Offord D. R. (1976). A study of student attitudes toward a psychiatric clerkship. Journal of Medical Education 51, 919928.
Lewis A. (1969). The education of psychiatrists. In The State of Psychiatry, pp. 125137. Routledge & Kegan Paul: London.
Maxmen J. S. (1979). Student attitude changes during ‘psychiatric medicine’ clerkships. General Hospital Psychiatry 1. 98103.
Murray R. M. (1978). The health of doctors: a review. Journal of the Royal College of Physicians 12, 403415.
Nie N. H., Hull C. H., Jenkins J.G., Steinbrenner K. & Bent D. H. (1975). Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (2nd edn). McGraw-Hill: New York.
Nielsen A. C. (1979). The magnitude of declining psychiatric career choice. Journal of Medical Education 54, 632637.
Nielsen A. C. (1980). Choosing psychiatry: the importance of psychiatric education in medical school. American Journal of Psychiatry 137, 428431.
O'Mahoney P. D. (1979). An investigation of change in medical students' conceptualization of psychiatric patients due to a short training course in psychiatry. Medical Education 13. 103110.
Pallis D. J. & Stoffelmayer B. J. (1975). Social attitudes and treatment orientation among psychiatrists. Bruish Journal of Medical Psychology 46, 7581.
Parkhouse J., Campbell M. G. & Philips P. R. (1981). Career preferences of doctors qualifying in the United Kingdom in 1979. Health Trends 13, 103105.
Rezler A. G. (1974). Attitude changes during medical school: a review of the literature. Journal of Medical Education 49, 10231030.
Rezler A. G. (1976). Methods of attitude assessment for medical teachers. Medical Education 10, 4351.
Shuval J. T. & Adler I. (1980). The role of models in professional socialisation. Social Science and Medicine 14A, 514.
Stead J. S., Dick G. W. A., Crisp A. H. & Viner R. S. (1980). General professional training in psychiatry in the South.West Thames Region. British Medical Journal 281, 979981.
Toone B. K., Murray R., Clare A., Creed F. & Smith A. (1979). Psychiatrists' models of mental illness and their personal backgrounds. Psychological Medicine 9. 165178.
Walton H. J. (1967). The measurement of medical students' attitudes. British Journal of Medical Education 1, 330339.
Walton H. J. (1968). An experimental study of different methods for teaching medical students. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 61, 109112.
Walton H. J. (1969). Personality correlates of a career interest in psychiatry. British Journal of Psychiatry 115, 211219.
Walton H. J., Drewery J. & Carstairs G. M. (1963). Interest of graduating medical students in social and emotional aspects of illness. British Medical Journal ii, 588592.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 4 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 124 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.