Medical Students' Attitudes Toward Electroconvulsive Therapy: An Indian Perspective


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Abstract

Summary:A questionnaire addressing issues related to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) was administered to 165 undergraduate medical students in an urban hospital in India. Of various sources, the mass media contributed most to the students' knowledge about and attitudes toward the treatment. Senior and junior students differed little in their knowledge and attitudes. Many students believed that ECT is cruel and barbaric and that it occasions pain to the patient; however, few considered that it compromises thinking and reasoning, that it causes brain damage, that it is misused, that it is used to punish violent or uncooperative patients, that it is outmoded, or that it should be banned. Many students thought that the use of ECT should be governed by law. Myths and concerns about ECT were identified in a subset of students who expressed reluctance to receive ECT if indicated for themselves. There is a need to improve undergraduate medical education on ECT.

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