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Journal of Psychiatric Practice:
doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000422746.25613.fa
Practitioner's Corner

Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of Practicing Psychiatrists

FIRMIN, MICHAEL W. PhD; WANTZ, RICHARD A. EdD; GEIB, ELLEN F.; RAY, BRIGITTE N.

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Abstract

This article reports research findings from a survey of 261 students regarding their perceptions of psychiatrists. Overall, students view psychiatrists as competent and prestigious. At the same time, however, only approximately half of respondents reported having a “positive view” of these professionals and around one-third were neutral. College students view psychiatrists as effective for treating relatively severe mental health problems, although depression was not considered to be a psychiatrist’s relative strong suit (only half viewed them as being effective). Some confusion between psychiatrists and psychologists seemed apparent. Although students did not consider the media a highly reliable source of information, media sources nonetheless appeared to play a dominant role in determining how college students framed psychiatry roles. We discuss the results in the context of the need for further education by the specialty of psychiatry and the importance of reversing what appears to be some negative stereotyping. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2012;18:460–466)

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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