ATTITUDE OF GIRLS MEDICAL STUDENTS TOWARDS PSYCHIATRY

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Abstract

Background: Psychiatry is a new specialty as compared to other branches of medical sciences. Society in general and
medical students in particular is not fully aware of the scope and knowledge of psychiatry. Prejudice and discrimination
against psychiatric patients are common, socially damaging and are a part of more widespread stigmatization. Stigma
remains a powerful negative attribute in all social relations. It results from combination of a lack of knowledge, negative
attitudes and discrimination. Medical students and other individuals who discriminate against mental illness are likely
to socially distance themselves from patients suffering from psychiatric illness.
Method: This cross sectional study was a conducted in Khyber Girls Medical College (KGMC) Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
(KPK). Students were selected and divided in two groups first group was labeled as cases and consisted
of 3rd, 4th and final year students. Second group consisted of 1st and 2nd year students and was labeled as controls..
There were 86 students included in case group and 98 in the control group. Attitude towards psychiatry was assessed
by a validated scale called attitude towards psychiatry scale (ATP-30). SPSS Version 19 was used for data and statistical
analysis. Student’s t-test was applied to find out the statistical significance.
Results: Questions in ATP-30 scale were divided in to four sets in assess student’s attitude towards different aspect
of psychiatry. These aspects were, Psychiatric patients and psychiatric illness; Psychiatrist and subject psychiatry;
Psychiatric knowledge and teaching; and Psychiatric treatment and hospitals. Overall both groups showed positive
attitude towards psychiatry. There was some statistically significant difference between the two groups regarding some
important items on the ATP-30, while the rest of majority items had a neutral response. These differences between the
two groups may be due the fact that the control group consisting of 1st year and 2nd year students had limited exposure
to clinical psychiatry as compare to the clinical students group.
Conclusions: Overall both groups showed positive attitude towards psychiatry. There was some statistically significant
difference between the two groups regarding some important items on the ATP-30, while the rest of majority items had
a neutral response. However, first and second year students with limited exposure to psychiatry consider psychiatric
hospitals to be more like prisons. There is number of reasons for this attitude such as negative portrayal of psychiatric
hospital and treatment in the media and reduced exposure of medical students

Authors: 
Wajid Ali Akhunzada
Amer Abbas
Muhammad Akmal
Journal Issue: 

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