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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 212-218

Attitudes toward psychiatrists, psychiatric medications, and mental illness among medical undergraduates: A cross-sectional study


1 Department of Psychiatry, Konaseema Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Foundation, Amalapuram, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Konaseema Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Foundation, Amalapuram, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Raj Kiran Donthu
Department of Psychiatry, Konaseema Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Foundation, Amalapuram, Andhra Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_38_20

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Context: Varying attitude exists regarding psychiatrists, psychiatric medications, and mental illness among different groups of people. Attitudes are in more of a negative domain when we look from the laypersons' perspective. The study explores medical graduate attitudes in these domains. Aims: The aim was to study the attitudes toward psychiatrists, psychiatric medications, and mental illness among medical undergraduates. Settings and Design: This cross-sectional study was done in a private medical college in India. Subjects and Methods: The study was conducted on medical undergraduate students of a medical college in India. They were asked to fill study forms, which were designed to obtain sociodemographic details and included questionnaires to measure attitudes toward psychiatrists, psychiatric medications, and mental illness. Statistical Analysis Used: The completed forms were subjected to analysis by statistical software SPSS v18. Results: The sample included 596 medical undergraduate students. The study found a statistically significant negative association between age (P = 0.000) and attitude toward psychiatrists; gender (P = 0.014) and religion (P = 0.026) towards psychiatric medications, year of study towards psychiatrists (P = 0.000) and mental illness (P = 0.025). A negative correlation was found between age with attitudes toward psychiatrists (r − 0.273, P = 0.000) and mental illness (r − 0.095, P = 0.020); similarly, a negative correlation was found between year of graduation with attitude toward psychiatrists (r − 0.327, P = 0.000) and mental illness (r − 0.103, P = 0.012). As a preferred branch for postgraduation, only 18.8% were willing to take psychiatry; the willingness increases to 51.5% if no other clinical branch is available. Conclusions: Medical undergraduate students tend to have negative attitudes toward psychiatrists and mental illness in their starting years, but as they progress in their graduation, this tends to change. They have positive attitudes toward psychiatric medications in the later years of their graduation.


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