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Keywords:

  • *Psychiatry/educ;
  • *Attitude of health personnel;
  • Students, medical/*psychol;
  • Education, medical, undergraduate;
  • Occupational therapy/educ;
  • Teaching/methods;
  • Residency, medical;
  • Ontario

Summary

The development and validation of a thirty item, Likert-type scale designed to measure medical students' attitudes to psychiatry—the ATP-30 (Attitudes Toward Psychiatry—30 items)—are described. We had hoped to demonstrate that ‘attitude to psychiatry’ was not a unitary matter but an amalgam of attitudes to a number of things to do with psychiatric practice. This hope was not fulfilled, as a unitary dimension was obtained. A positive change in the attitudes of students toward psychiatry was demonstrated in third and fourth medical year students in relation to exposure to psychiatry. Such a change was not demonstrable in two classes of occupational therapy students exposed to a course in psychiatry. The reasons for this difference between medical students and occupational therapy students are discussed—there possibly being important implications here for psychiatric curriculum planning in medical school. Lastly, we have demonstrated that the positive change in attitudes amongst medical students was transient rather than lasting—a matter which most studies of attitude change do not address. In spite of the apparent impermanence of the positive change in attitudes among medical students, there are a number of possible uses to a scale such as the ATP-30, and these are discussed.