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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 238-242

Psychiatry as a career choice: Perception of students at a private medical college in South India

1 Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Ophthalmology, Yenepoya Medical College, Yenepoya University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Animesh Jain
Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Light House Hill Road, Mangalore - 575 001, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2321-4848.144362

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Background and Aim: People with mental illness are often subjected to stigma and discrimination. The poor popularity of Psychiatry as a field of specialty has been a global concern. Any preconceived notions, perceptions and formative influences among medical students could have strong influence on their future choice of career. This study aimed to determine the students' perception of Psychiatry as career choice and the factors influencing their perception and career choice. Subjects and Methods: Following approval from Institutional Ethics Committee and necessary permissions, consenting medical students at a private medical college in Mangalore, India were surveyed using a pilot-tested questionnaire. The responses were compiled and data analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 10. Chi-square test was performed and P < 0.05 was considered significant. Results: Of the 250 participants, 152 (60.8%) were males while 96 (38.4%) were females aged 17-25 years. Only 28 (11.2%) wanted to pursue Psychiatry as a career while 97 (38.8%) considered it as an option although not their first choice. There was no association between gender and completion of Psychiatry postings on the decision regarding Psychiatry as a career. However, an exposure to a mentally ill person had a statistically significant association with Psychiatry as career choice (P < 0.001). Conclusion: Very few students aspire for Psychiatry. Targeted interventions including focused approach and creating an interest during undergraduate posting may inspire more students to take up Psychiatry.

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