Association of Attitude Towards Mental Illness with Exposure to Psychiatry in Medical Students


  • Nadia Azad
  • Sawera Mansoor
  • Nadeem Abbas
  • Qurrat ul Ain



Attitude, Media, Medical students, Mental illness, Stigma


Background: Society's attitude towards patients with mental illness has been evolving over the past century and the speed of this evolution has particularly accelerated since the advent of modern ways of communication and media. As with other areas of development, attitude change may be expected to be slow-paced in our country but local evidence is lacking in this regard. Objective: To measure the level of stigma towards mental illness in medical students along with its association with their prior exposure to Psychiatry. Method: This is across-sectional study conducted between May to August 2019 at a private medical college. Consecutive sampling was used to include a total of 247 (71% female and 29% male) students of the fourth and final year MBBS after written informed consent. A specially designed form was used to collect relevant socio-demographic details along with data regarding exposure to Psychiatry. The scores from self-reported Mental Illness: Clinicians' Attitudes scale (MICA)were also recorded. Chi-Square test was used to assess the association of exposure to psychiatry to stigmatizing attitudes. Data were analyzed using SPSS20. Results: Prior exposure to mental illness in family or friend was reported by 60.5% of the students, 70% described an exposure through media and only 32% had undergone a clinical psychiatry rotation. Average stigma scores on MICA were found in 41% of our sample, while 32% had above-average scores and 27% had lower than average stigma. Pearson' schisquare test showed that the previous exposure to mental illness via media sources was found to be significantly associated with lower levels of stigma in medical students (p= <0.05). Conclusion: A significant proportion of medical students hold negative views about psychiatric illness. Familiarity with mental health issue through media sources is linked to lower stigmatizing attitudes.


2022-07-20 — Updated on 2022-11-25


How to Cite

Azad, N. ., Mansoor, S. ., Abbas, N. ., & ul Ain, Q. . (2022). Association of Attitude Towards Mental Illness with Exposure to Psychiatry in Medical Students. Annals of King Edward Medical University, 28(2), 146-151. (Original work published July 20, 2022)