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Indian J Psychol Med. 2017 Nov-Dec;39(6):746-749. doi: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_84_17.

Stigma and Attitudes toward Patients with Psychiatric Illness among Postgraduate Indian Physicians.

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Department of Psychiatry, Gudalur Adivasi Hospital, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India.
Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Department of Anaesthesia, Believers Church Medical College Hospital, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India.



Due to paucity of psychiatrists in India, psychiatric patients often present to other doctors. We aimed to study nonpsychiatric residents' attitude and stigma toward psychiatric patients.


A total of 57 postgraduate trainees participated in a cross-sectional study in a tertiary hospital in New Delhi. Attitudes to psychiatric patients were assessed using the attitude to mental illness questionnaire (AMIQ) and the perceived stigma questionnaire. This was correlated with sociodemographic information.


Over 70% residents accepted mentally ill patients as friends and felt they were equally employable. However, AMIQ demonstrated a negative attitude towards patients with schizophrenia. Perceived competence in dealing with psychiatric patients was associated with adequate undergraduate exposure (Chi-square = 7.270, P = 0.026) and correlated with positive attitudes (t-test, P = 0.0008).


While the questionnaires revealed some prejudice toward psychiatric patients with schizophrenia, the postgraduate trainees who felt competent to deal with the mentally ill had the most positive attitudes toward them.


Attitude; medical education; mental illness; postgraduate physicians; stigma

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