Medical student attitude toward seeking professional psychological help

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To explore the antecedents of emotional distress among physicians, the authors investigated the relationship between year in medical school and student attitude toward seeking professional psychological help. The sample consisted of 489 students at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. Since a cross-sectional approach was employed a classical regression analysis was used to control for possible differences in the variables of sex, age, contact with psychotherapy, and specialty choice. Differences in male and female responses prompted separate analyses. For women, no attitudinal changes were noted during medical school. For men, a significant positive change in attitude was noted between the students of years one and two, as compared with students of years three and four. Results were contrary to findings in the literature. Several possible explanations are discussed.

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