Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 71–75 | Cite as

Attitudes Toward Psychiatry Among Final-Year Medical Students in Kumasi, Ghana

  • Richard LaugharneEmail author
  • John Appiah-Poku
  • Jon Laugharne
  • Rohit Shankar
International Education Report



Most sub-Saharan African countries have fewer psychiatrists than one per one million people. One possible reason could be that medical students have a negative attitude toward the specialty. The authors evaluated the attitudes toward a career in psychiatry of final-year medical students in Kumasi, Ghana, and compare these with attitudes of medical students in Spain and the United States.


Medical students were given a 28-item questionnaire on attitudes toward psychiatry, which was used in previous studies in Spain and the United States.


Ghanaian students (N = 94) had a fairly positive view of psychiatry, similar to those in Spain, although less positive than U.S. students. About 15% were considering psychiatry as a career option. There was evidence of significant stigmatization of patients with mental illness and psychiatrists and concern about the use of coercive detention of patients.


The difficulty recruiting physicians into psychiatry in Ghana, and perhaps other African countries, is unlikely to be due to negative attitudes and may be due to a lack of opportunity to train in psychiatry.


Mental Illness Medical Student Mental Health Service Negative Attitude Academic Psychiatry 
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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Laugharne
    • 1
    Email author
  • John Appiah-Poku
    • 2
  • Jon Laugharne
    • 3
  • Rohit Shankar
    • 4
  1. 1.Wonford House HospitalPeninsula Medical School, Mental Health Research GroupExeterUK
  2. 2.School of Medical ScienceUniversity of Science and TechnologyKumasiGhana
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Adult PsychiatryCornwall Partnership TrustBodminUK

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