Effect of diagnostic labeling and causal explanations on medical students’ views about treatments for psychosis and the need to share information with service users

New study by Lorenza Magliano, John Read et al, in Psychiatry Research, (in press, 2013)

This study examines whether medical students’ views of treatments for ‘schizophrenia’ and of patients’ rights to be informed about their condition and their medication were influenced by diagnostic labeling and causal explanations and whether they differed over medical training.

Three hundred and eighty one Italian students attending their first or fifth/sixth year of medical studies read a vignette portraying someone who met diagnostic criteria for ‘schizophrenia’ and completed a self-report questionnaire.

The study found that labeling the case as ‘schizophrenia’ and naming heredity among its causes were associated with confidence in psychiatrists and psychiatric drugs. Naming psychological traumas among the causes was associated with confidence in psychologists and greater acknowledgment of users’ right to be informed about drugs.

Compared to first year students, those at their fifth/sixth-year of studies more strongly endorsed drugs, had less confidence in psychologists and family support, and were less keen to share information on drugs with patients.

These findings highlight that students’ beliefs vary during training and are significantly related to diagnostic labeling and belief in a biogenetic causal model.

Psychiatric curricula for medical students should include greater integration of psychological and medical aspects in clinical management of ‘schizophrenia’; more information on the psychosocial causes of mental health problems.

2 responses to “Effect of diagnostic labeling and causal explanations on medical students’ views about treatments for psychosis and the need to share information with service users

  1. Who is teaching them & where is the influence of change? Its not half obvious that educators influence belief and historically what change has there been that typically embraces a different mindset with students to learn & go forward?

    It appears in the study that people are eager to represent refreshing views in order of change however over the long term are conditioned to fit into the spectrum of their profession.

    Is there morality in the way in which collaboration parallels itself within the context of practitioner values & how those values align with the need to work, earn money or assist in the transformation of humanity for the betterment of health outcomes over the long term?

    Blinkers on to embellish the stigma that recovery from mental illness doesn’t exist leaving little hope for the individual or family limiting functioning to the medical model. That is mentally disordered in itself by purporting social isolation. Are we that greedy to cement our role in recovery by working this way; or adaptable in our need to co-contribute to people living meaningful lives with purpose & dignity? every treatment has it’s approach & none should tie a knot in the optimism & joy that humanity should administer.

    I wonder who commissioned the study? Thanks for the post.

  2. Pingback: Article Response: Confidence in Psychologists | A Loon in Remission

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