Salud Mental

Mental illness attitudes in medical education: Assessing the stigma in medical students


Ernesto Márquez-Cervantes
Daniela Haydé Romero-Guerra
Antonio Costilla-Esquivel


Introduction. Factors affecting the quality of physician care include a shortage of trained staff, stigma, and discrimination.

Objective. The objective was to compare the intensity of stigmatization before and after a Psychiatry course, as measured by the scale of clinicians’ attitudes towards mental illness, a version for medical students (MICA-2) designed to identify stigmatic attitudes towards mental disorders.

Method. The fifth-year Medicine students enrolled in the Psychiatry course answered anonymously using the MICA-2 test at the start and the end of their course. Additionally, we asked the students to answer a question about their interest in learning more about mental illness.

Results. Three hundred and thirty students were invited; 300 agreed to participate in the first application of the scales, and 291 in the follow-up. The average age was 22 ± 2 years, with a range of 20-30 years, and there was a similar gender distribution in both applications. In the initial application, the average score of the MICA-2 was 41.34 (SD = 7.86, 95% CI = [40.43, 42.25]). The follow-up application’s mean was 37.10 (SD = 8.15, 95% CI = [36.30, 38.15]). Also, there was a decrease in interest in learning more about mental illness.

Discussion and conclusion. A reduction in the average scores of the MICA-2 was observed after a Psychiatry course, suggesting that attitudes toward mental disorders improved. A Psychiatry clerkship with close supervision modified the attitudes of medical students toward mental disorders. However, it did not increase their interest in learning more about mental illness.
Stigma, mental illness, medical students, Psychiatry


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