Acta Psychopathologica Open Access

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Attitudes and Beliefs of Medical Students towards Individuals with Mental Illness- a Multicentric, Cross Sectional Study

Shweta Chauhan

Aims & Objectives: To determine the levels of stigma as perceived by medical students across various professional years and to compare the beliefs of medical students regarding mental illness between private and government universities.

Methodology: 100 students belonging to a government medical college and 100 students belonging to a private medical college in North India were asked to fill a questionnaire regarding the demographic details, etiology, symptomatology of psychiatric disorders and Belief Towards Mental Illness Scale. Results were tabulated using dependent and single sample t-tests.

Results: Significant differences were seen amongst the students belonging to both the institutes regarding Phobias, Anxiety, Alcoholism and Drug addiction, with students of private medical college showing more negative views. Lower levels of stigmatizing views were seen in students with a history of prior psychiatric teaching.

Conclusion: Significant levels of stigma and negative belief have been seen in students belonging to both government and private medical colleges especially in private setup and psychiatric teaching imparted as early as possible during the course of medical training can reduce the negative beliefs of students and thus further facilitate in treatment and care of people suffering from psychiatric illnesses.