Attitudes of Medical Students Towards Psychiatry in Venezuela: a 6-Year Longitudinal Study

Abstract

Objective

The authors evaluated changes in attitude towards psychiatry of medical students in one medical school in Venezuela.

Methods

Balon’s modified questionnaire was administered to first and sixth-year medical students to analyze their attitude towards psychiatry. The answers were compared with McNemar’s test.

Results

The students’ negative perception of psychiatry increased by the end of medical school with 45% of sixth-year students reportedly feeling uncomfortable when working with patients with psychiatric illness compared to only 8.3% of first-year medical students. Interest in specializing in psychiatry decreased from 2.6% in first-year medical students to 0% in sixth-year medical students (p=0.001).

Conclusion

Different factors may lead to the loss of interest in psychiatry of medical students in Venezuela, such as little time spent with patients, being in contact only with patients with psychosis, stigma about psychiatry among medical doctors and friends, feeling more comfortable with other specialties, and other specialties having a higher perceived status and being better paid.

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Correspondence to Oscar Medina-Ortiz.

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This study has been carried out with the financial resources of the authors. On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Medina-Ortiz, O., Pulido, L., Sanchez-Mora, N. et al. Attitudes of Medical Students Towards Psychiatry in Venezuela: a 6-Year Longitudinal Study. Acad Psychiatry (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40596-021-01415-0

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Keywords

  • Medical students
  • Psychiatry
  • Attitude
  • Specialty choice