Introduction: In India there is a great shortage of psychiatrists unable to respond to the demands of providing good quality mental health care. More women worldwide are taking up psychiatry as a career. Medical interns are the future doctors on the threshold of making a choice regarding their post-graduation which will influence the future quality of mental health care.
Materials and Methods: The attitudes to psychiatry of 148 medical interns (93 – male and 55 – female) were studied using the 29 item Balon’s questionnaire.
Results: The overall mean attitudes scores to psychiatry was 88.40 for males and 85.25 for females (P>0.001). The mean attitude scores in (Area 6 -Specific medical college factors) was 19 for males and 17.56 for female (p<0.005). Low scores were seen on Q11 (psychiatrists being apologetic about psychiatry), Q23 (Being uncomfortable with mentally ill) & Q 29 (Encouragement to become a Psychiatrist). 3.2% of male & none of the female interns wish to definitely take up a life-long career in psychiatry and10.7% males and 12.7 % female were undecided.
Conclusions: There were overall positive attitudes scores to psychiatry in both male and female medical interns with higher scores in males as compared to females. There were positive attitude scores in both male and female interns to the teaching of psychiatry at the medical college. Interns have negative attitude to psychiatric patients which suggest stigmatization. Interns need to be encouraged to take up psychiatry as a life- long career.
Keywords: Attitudes, Medical interns, Career, Psychiatry.