To assure adequate treatment for patients with mental illness worldwide, medical schools must impart positive attitudes toward psychiatry. The authors examined the effect of culture on changes in attitudes toward psychiatry among medical students receiving the same psychiatry clerkship curriculum in two different countries.
A group of 74 students from Weill Cornell Medical College–New York and 32 from Weill Cornell Medical College–Qatar completed pre- and post-clerkship questionnaires assessing their attitudes toward psychiatry.
On the pretest, the Qatar students had less positive attitudes than the New York students, as evidenced by lower group mean total scores. During the clerkship, the attitudes of students at both schools improved, but more markedly in Qatar, narrowing the group differences.
A psychiatry clerkship with a U.S.-derived curriculum had a positive effect on medical students’ attitudes toward psychiatry in Qatar, suggesting the usefulness of applying such curricula across cultures.