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.
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.