Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 172–177 | Cite as

Contemporary Beliefs About Mental Illness Among Medical Students: Implications for Education and Practice

  • R. N. Mary Keane
Regular Articles


Forty-six medical students were administered the Opinion About Mental Illness (OMI) questionnaire and Derogatis’ Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R) before and after an eight-week academic and clinical course in psychiatry. Significant changes were found after the course on dimensions of Benevolence and Interpersonal Etiology, and mean scores on the community portion of the OMI scale revealed movement in a positive direction. Using multiple regression analysis the pre-test attitude scores accounted for most of the variance on post-test attitudes. Stereotyping, a very important dimension of the OMI scale, was not rejected on either the pre-course or post-course measures. The students’ own psychological distress did not have an effect on attitude change.


Mental Illness Medical Student Psychological Distress Attitude Dimension Ical Student 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Struening EL, Cohen J: Factorial in variance and other psychometric characteristics of five opinions about mental illness factors. Educational and Psychological Measurement 1963; 23:209–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    McDaniel JW: Physical disability and human behavior. New York, Pergamon Press, 1969Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kalish B: What is empathy? Am J Nursing 1973; 73:1548–1550Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rezler AG: Attitude changes during medical school: a review of the literature. J Med Educ 1974; 49:1023–1030PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Englehardt T: Physicians, patients, health care institutions — and the people in between: nurses, in Caring, Curing, and Coping: Nurse-Physician Relationships. Edited by Bishop A, Scudder J. Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama Press, 1985Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Leininger M: Care facilitation and resistance factors in the culture of nursing, in Topics in Clinical Nursing. Edited by Wolf ZR. Aspen, Colo, Aspen, 1986Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Axelrod D: Emerging directions for health care in New York State. Journal of New York State Nurses Association 1986; 17:4–10Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Reiser L, Sledge W, Edelson M: Four-year evaluation of a psychiatric clerkship: 1982–1986. Am J Psychiatry 1988; 145:1122–1126PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Newcomb T, Turner R, Converse P: Social Psychology: The Study of Human Interaction. New York, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1965Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Rabkin J: Public attitudes towards mental illness: a review of the literature. Schizophr Bull 1974; 10:9–33PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Katz D: Functional approach to the study of attitudes. Public Opinion Quarterly 1960; 24:163–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Rabkin J, Streuning E: Life events, stress, and illness. Science 1976; 194:1013–1020PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hull J: The nonpsychiatric physicians training in psychiatry. Journal of Psychiatric Education 1981; 5:316–320Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kris K: Distress precipitated by psychiatric training among medical students. Am J Psychiatry 1986; 143:1432–1435PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gelfand S, Ullman LP: Change in attitudes about mental illness associated with psychiatric clerkship training. Int J Soc Psychiatry 1960–1961; 7:292–298Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Crow C, Mowbray R, Block S: Attitudes of medical students to mental illness. J Med Educ 1970; 45:594–599PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Miller S, Lenkoski LD, Weinstein D: Enduring attitude change in medical students. Journal of Psychiatric Education 1979; 3:171–179Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Eagle P, Marcos L, Cancro R: Medical students attitudinal changes associated with the psychiatric clerkship. Journal of Psychiatric Education 1980; 3:180–187Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Antonovsky H, Ginath Y: Changes in attitudes of medical students towards psychiatry. Journal of Psychiatric Education 1984; 8:218–226Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Creed F, Goldberg D: Students attitudes towards psychiatry. Medical Education 1987; 21:227–234PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Derogatis L: SCL-90: Administration, Scoring, and Processing Manual I for the Revised Version. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1977Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Derogatis L, Rickels K, Rock A: The SCL-90 and the MMPI: a step in the validation of a new self-report scale. Br J Psychiatry 1976; 128:280–289PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. N. Mary Keane
    • 1
  1. 1.City College—School of NursingCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations