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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 102-109

Attitudes of Indian undergraduate occupational therapy students toward mental health and psychiatry: A cross-sectional survey


KMCH College of Occupational Therapy, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Nidhi N Dave
35/1, K. G. Layout, Church Road, K. K Pudur, Coimbatore - 641 038, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijoth.ijoth_19_22

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Background: In India, the number of occupational therapy practitioners currently working in mental health settings is lower than most other specialties. The attitudes of students influence their interest in any field and their desire for working in it. Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine the attitudes of Indian undergraduate occupational therapy students toward mental health and psychiatry, and to explore the differences in attitudes across different years of study, gender, resulting from personal experiences, and educational coursework, and to examine if the attitudes influence future career choices. Study Design: This was a cross-sectional survey. Methods: Permission was obtained from heads of institutions of 14 occupational therapy colleges and the survey link was sent. In order to obtain a representative sample, the link was also shared on social groups. The purpose of the study, voluntary participation, and confidentiality were explained on the landing page. The subsequent sections consisted of the demographic questionnaire, the Attitudes toward Psychiatry-30 (ATP-30) Questionnaire, and the Career Preference Questionnaire. A total of 402 responses were obtained within the stipulated period. Statistical analysis was performed, and the odds ratio using logistic regression and Pearson's correlation coefficient were determined. Results: Gender and contact with persons with mental illness were significant predictors of positive ATP. Females are 5.387 times more likely to have positive ATP (odds ratio [OR] = 5.387, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.101–13.814, P = 0.000). Furthermore, those in contact with persons with mental illness are 2.883 times more likely to have positive ATP (OR = 2.883, 95% CI: 1.076–7.724, P = 0.035). Moderately high positive correlations existed between ATP and career preference in psychiatry. Conclusions: Overall, positive attitudes were found. Significant correlations were seen across the domains of the ATP-30 and career preference in psychiatry. Female students are five times more likely to have positive attitudes than male students. Those in contact with persons with mental illness were almost thrice more likely to have positive attitudes than those without any contact.


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