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Are efforts to recruit to psychiatry closing the stable door after the horse has bolted? Knowledge and attitudes towards a career in psychiatry amongst secondary (high) school students: a UK-based cross-sectional survey.

Authors
  • Morgan, Lewys J1
  • Finn, Gabrielle M2
  • Tiffin, Paul A2, 3
  • 1 Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK.
  • 2 Hull York Medical School, University of York, York, UK.
  • 3 The Mental Health and Addictions Research Group, Health Sciences, University of York, York, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of mental health (Abingdon, England)
Publication Date
May 17, 2021
Pages
1–8
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/09638237.2021.1922638
PMID: 33999748
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Internationally there is a shortage of psychiatrists, whilst clinical psychology training is generally oversubscribed. School students interested in psychological health may not be aware of the possibility of studying medicine before specialising in psychiatry. This has implications for the mental health workforce. To evaluate the knowledge and attitudes relating to a potential career in psychiatry amongst secondary (high) school students. A cross-sectional survey evaluated attitudes and knowledge relating to psychiatry and clinical psychology, targeting students from five schools who were studying chemistry, biology and/or psychology at an advanced level. 186 students completed the survey (response rate 41%). Knowledge was generally poor with only 57% of respondents knowing that psychiatrists had medical degrees, and most participants substantially underestimating the salaries of consultant psychiatrists. Attitudinal response patterns were explained by two underlying factors, relating to generally negative attitudes towards psychiatry and positive attitudes towards the effectiveness of psychiatric treatments. Females and those studying psychology reported more positive attitudes towards psychiatry. Those studying chemistry reported more negative attitudes towards the effectiveness of mental health treatment. Studying psychology predicted positive attitudes towards psychiatry. Such students could be targeted by recruitment campaigns, which emphasise factual information about the specialty.

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