Medical student attitudes about mental illness: does medical-school education reduce stigma?
ABSTRACT Reducing stigma associated with mental illness is an important aim of medical education, yet evidence indicates that medical students' attitudes toward patients with mental health problems deteriorate as they progress through medical school.
Authors examined medical students' attitudes to mental illness, as compared with attitudes toward other medical illness, and the influence of the number of years spent in medical school, as well as of several key socio-demographic, ethnic, and cultural variables.
A group of 760 U.K. medical students completed a nationwide on-line survey examining their attitudes toward patients with five conditions (pneumonia, depression, psychotic symptoms, intravenous drug use, long-standing unexplained abdominal complaints), using the Medical Condition Regard Scale (MCRS). Students were also asked whether they had completed the psychiatry rotation or had personal experience of mental disorders themselves or among their friends or family members. They were also asked about their ethnic group (using U.K. national census categories), religious affiliation, and how important religion was in their lives. Independent-samples t-tests and one-way ANOVA were used to compare differences between groups on the MCRS.
Students showed the highest regard for patients with pneumonia and lowest regard for patients with long-standing, unexplained abdominal complaints. Although attitudes toward pneumonia were more positive in fifth-year students than in first-year students, attitudes toward unexplained chronic abdominal pain were worse in fifth-year students than in first-year students. Personal experience of mental health treatment, or that among family and friends, were associated with less stigmatizing attitudes. Men showed more stigmatization than women for nearly all conditions; Chinese and South Asian students showed more stigmatizing attitudes toward delusions and hallucinations than their white British counterparts.
Medical students in this survey showed the lowest regard for patients with unexplained abdominal pain, and these attitudes were worse in the most experienced medical students. Students' gender, culture and direct or indirect experience of mental illness influenced stigmatizing attitudes.
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ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate medical students' knowledge and attitudes towards depression. Students attending their final year at Zagreb School of Medicine completed a set of standardized questionnaires, including attitudes towards psychiatric medication, attitudes towards depression, and personality inventory. In total, 199 students completed the questionnaire (response rate 77 %). Most medical students were only partially able to correctly identify major symptoms of depression, but did suggest referral to mental health specialists as the most appropriate course of action. They recognized social and biological causes of depression. Degree of correct identification of symptoms of depression correlated positively with non-stigmatizing attitudes towards depression and negatively with stigmatizing attitudes towards depression. Students' attitudes toward depression may influence their recognition of symptoms of depression. Incorporation of these findings in development of undergraduate medical curricula may improve students' recognition of depression.Academic Psychiatry 06/2014; 38(3):312-5. DOI:10.1007/s40596-014-0109-8 · 0.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The stigma of mental illness affects psychiatry as a medical profession and psychiatrists. The present study aimed to compare the extent and correlation patterns of perceived stigma in psychiatrists and general practitioners. An international multicenter survey was conducted in psychiatrists and general practitioners from twelve countries. Responses were received from N = 1,893 psychiatrists and N = 1,238 general practitioners. Aspects of stigma assessed in the questionnaire included perceived stigma, self-stigma (stereotype agreement), attitudes toward the other profession, and experiences of discrimination. Psychiatrists reported significantly higher perceived stigma and discrimination experiences than general practitioners. Separate multiple regression analyses showed different predictor patterns of perceived stigma in the two groups. Hence, in the psychiatrists group, perceived stigma correlated best with discrimination experiences and self-stigma, while in the general practitioners group it correlated best with self-stigma. About 17 % of the psychiatrists perceive stigma as a serious problem, with a higher rate in younger respondents. Against this background, psychiatry as a medical profession should set a high priority on improving the training of young graduates. Despite the number of existing antistigma interventions targeting mental health professionals and medical students, further measures to improve the image of psychiatry and psychiatrists are warranted, in particular improving the training of young graduates with respect to raising awareness of own stigmatizing attitudes and to develop a better profession-related self-assertiveness.European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 04/2014; 265(3). DOI:10.1007/s00406-014-0530-8 · 3.36 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: IntroductionAlthough pelvic examinations (PEs) are an important component of women's health, some women experience difficulty during PEs due to anxiety and pain. These difficulties may be heightened in women with chronic pain during sexual intercourse. Some evidence suggests that this population experiences pain and distress during PEs, but their experiences in this context have not been empirically investigated from a multidimensional perspective.AimsThe aims of this study were to compare the PE experiences of women with and without pain during intercourse and to examine predictors of negative experiences in each group.Method Women with vulvovaginal pain (n = 90), pelvic pain (n = 89), and women without current intercourse pain (n = 207) completed an online survey including sections assessing demographics, gynecological and medical history, and PE experiences. Respondents completed questionnaires assessing vaginal penetration cognitions and body image.Main Outcome MeasuresParticipants rated their most recent PE on numerical scales for pain, embarrassment, anxiety, and the overall quality of the experience.ResultsWomen with pelvic and vulvovaginal pain during intercourse reported significantly more pain and anxiety during their most recent PE compared with the no pain group, and women with a higher number of lifetime gynecological diagnoses reported significantly more pain. Multiple regression analyses indicated that various predisposing, examination-related, and psychological factors predicted specific PE ratings in each group.Conclusions The results provide empirical support that PEs are more physically and emotionally difficult for women who experience chronic pain during intercourse. These findings have important clinical implications, as PEs are a critical part of complete reproductive care and play an essential role in the assessment/management of sexual pain, including Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder. Boyer SC and Pukall CF. Pelvic examination experiences in women with and without chronic pain during intercourse. J Sex Med **;**:**–**.Journal of Sexual Medicine 10/2014; 11(12). DOI:10.1111/jsm.12701 · 3.15 Impact Factor