, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 154-159

Attitudes Toward Psychiatry: A Survey of Medical Students at the University of Nairobi, Kenya

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Abstract

Objectives

The authors aim to determine the attitudes of University of Nairobi, Kenya, medical students toward psychiatry.

Methods

The study design was cross-sectional. Self-administered sociodemographic and the Attitudes Toward Psychiatry-30 items (ATP-30) questionnaires were distributed sequentially to every third medical student in his or her lecture theater before or immediately after the lectures. Analysis was done using SPSS version 11.5 and the results are presented in tables.

Results

Nearly 75% of the students had overall favorable attitudes toward psychiatry but only 14.3% considered psychiatry as a potential career choice. Sixty-six percent reported that they would not choose psychiatry as a career while the remaining 19.7% were not decided.

Conclusions

There is dissonance between positive attitudes toward psychiatry and the choice of psychiatry as a potential career. Therefore, there is a need to bridge the gap by addressing the various factors that potentially account for this dissonance.

The Africa Mental Health Foundation (AMHF) provided administrative and financial support for this study. The authors would like to thank the medical students of the University of Nairobi for their participation in the study, Grace Mutevu of AMHF and Miriam Wanjiru for their assistance in statistical analysis, and Patricia Wekulo for editing the paper. This study was conducted at the School of Medicine of the University of Nairobi, in Nairobi, Kenya.