Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 191–196 | Cite as

Reducing Medical Students’ Stigmatization of People With Chronic Mental Illness: A Field Intervention at the “Living Museum” State Hospital Art Studio

  • Janis L. Cutler
  • Kelli J. Harding
  • Lucy A. Hutner
  • Clarissa Cortland
  • Mark J. Graham
Original Article

Abstract

Objective

The authors designed an intervention to reduce beginning medical students’ stigmatization of people with chronic mental illness (CMI).

Methods

Pre-clinical medical students visited a state psychiatric facility’s “Living Museum,” a combination patient art studio/display space, as the intervention. During the visit, students interacted with artist-guides who showed their work and discussed their experiences creating art. Students completed a self-assessment survey developed to measure attitudes and feelings toward people with CMI after half of the class visited the Living Museum, constituting a Visit/No-Visit cross-sectional comparison.

Results

Students who visited the Living Museum (N=64), as compared with those who did not visit (N=110), endorsed more positive attitudes toward people with CMI. Among the students who visited, however, those who reported having spoken individually with a patient-artist (N=44), paradoxically, indicated less-positive feelings toward people with CMI.

Conclusion

An intervention in which pre-clinical medical students visited patient-artist guides in an art-studio setting generally improved students’ attitudes toward people with CMI. Thus, nontraditional psychiatric settings offer a valuable adjunct to more traditional clinical settings to reduce stigma when introducing medical students to the field of psychiatry.

Keywords

Medical Student Academic Psychiatry Positive Feeling Acad Psychiatry Intergroup Contact 

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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janis L. Cutler
    • 1
  • Kelli J. Harding
    • 1
  • Lucy A. Hutner
    • 1
  • Clarissa Cortland
    • 1
  • Mark J. Graham
    • 1
  1. 1.NYS Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew York

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