Psychiatric curriculum and its impact on the attitude of Indian undergraduate medical students and interns.

Department of Psychiatry, Indira Gandhi Medical College & Research Institute (IGMC & RI), Kathirkamam, Pondicherry, India.
Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine 07/2010; 32(2):119-27. DOI: 10.4103/0253-7176.78509
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Psychiatry is given very less importance in the Indian undergraduate medical curriculum and this affects the attitudes of students toward psychiatry and mentally ill patients.
To study the attitude of undergraduate medical students and interns toward psychiatry and mentally ill patients.
Undergraduate medical students and interns of a private medical college and research institute in South India consented to form our sample. We studied the General Health Questionnaire, overall level of satisfaction in ongoing Medical course using Visual Analog Scale, attitudes toward psychiatry scale and the attitudes toward mentally ill patient's scale of the students, with their informed consent. SPSS version 18 was used for analysis of data.
Participation rate was 96%. Mean age of entire sample was 20.56 years. The total mean score on the General Health Questionnaire was 13.52 in first year but became worse toward internship (18.2). The level of satisfaction in the medical course dipped from 86% at baseline to 20% during internship. Equally high scores were noted in the attitude toward mentally ill scale. On the attitude toward psychiatry scale, there were more views on psychiatry as being an unscientific specialty, psychiatrists being considered poor role models, and psychiatric teaching was of low quality and psychiatry was the least preferred career choice.
The undergraduate medical students have a very unfavorable attitude toward psychiatry and mentally ill patients.