Impact of psychiatry training on attitudes of undergraduate medical students

Chandrasekaran R, Srikumar P. S, Joshua E, Rasamy G


Objective: This study assesses the impact of prescribed undergraduate psychiatry training program on medical students’ attitudes to psychiatry. It is hypothesized that training may cause positive attitude changes towards the discipline and status perceptions of the profession of psychiatry.

Methods: A 23 item questionnaire was administered to 89 medical students before and after prescribed training in psychiatry as per the medical curriculum.

Results: Participation in psychiatry training enhanced students’ belief that it is a rapidly expanding frontier of medicine and that psychiatry can be viewed as precise and scientific. Psychiatric referrals were seen as useful to medical and surgical patients. However there was less agreement that psychiatric treatment is helpful to most people. Support for choice of psychiatry as a career was less as students were more negatively influenced by family. Poor income prospects and perceived low status among other medical disciplines were also endorsed following the completion of training.

Conclusion: There is a pressing need to revise the psychiatric training for medical students. A total attitude change is difficult to achieve and hence, the curriculum has to identify focal areas for emphasis. A multidisciplinary, bio-psychosocial model through liaison with other disciplines like medicine and surgery is a definite option. Psychiatrists have to be role models to alter the image of psychiatry among other medical professionals.


Attitudes, Medical students, Psychiatry, Training program

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