This study aimed to explore the effect of medical education on students’ attitudes toward psychiatry and psychiatric patients, and examined the usefulness of a new evaluation tool: the 6-item Psychiatric Experience, Attitudes, and Knowledge (PEAK-6).
Authors studied the attitudes of 116 medical students toward psychiatry and individuals with mental disorders, using two questionnaires before and after a 12-week module of “psychosocial medicine.” Results of the 30-item questionnaire Attitudes Toward Psychiatry (ATP-30) were compared with the results of PEAK-6.
With the ATP-30, no change in attitudes toward psychiatry was observed at the end of the module. With the PEAK-6, the item “attitude toward psychiatry” significantly improved. Knowledge of and experience with psychiatry as well as knowledge of and experience with individuals with mental disorders improved significantly; however, attitudes toward individuals with mental disorders did not improve.
PEAK-6 seems to be a promising tool with regard to nuanced information about psychiatric learning experiences. Participation in a psychiatric module may be associated with a positive effect on students' knowledge about, experience with, and attitudes toward psychiatry, but not attitudes toward psychiatric patients.