The impact of focused teaching sessions on New Zealand pharmacy students’ attitudes to people suffering from schizophrenia and other mental illnesses

J. M. Tordoff, N. -A. Benner, L. D. Broomfield, L. J. Hamilton, Z. E. Jaques, J. M. Kerslake, C. A. Soeteman, J. L. Spittal, H. C. Wilson, Prasad Nishtala

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review

Abstract

Final-year undergraduate pharmacy students at the University of Otago, New Zealand receive teaching on mental illness during the central nervous system (CNS) module. This study was undertaken to determine the impact of this teaching on students’ attitudes towards people suffering from schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

Methods
Using previously-validated questions, two questionnaires were developed and administered to a cohort of final-year undergraduate pharmacy students. Questionnaire 1 sought responses on a Likert scale to seven questions on willingness to associate with a person previously hospitalised with schizophrenia (Social Distance (SD) scale); and to eight questions on common stereotypical beliefs. Questionnaire 2 comprised these questions plus two open questions about the teaching. Questionnaire 1 was administered prior to the CNS module, and questionnaire 2 after its completion. Participants’ responses were matched, and compared using the student’s t-test. Responses to open questions were examined for recurrent themes.

Results
Eighty-six students completed both questionnaires. There was no significant difference in responses on the SD scale or on common stereotypical beliefs. Nevertheless, students appeared more willing to “share a flat with that person” (t=2.12, p=0.04) and “have that person as a baby sitter for a child” (t=2.17, p=0.03). Conversely, students more strongly agreed that people previously hospitalised with schizophrenia were “hard to talk to” (t=3.15, p
Conclusion
Following focused teaching sessions, some positive changes but no significant overall change, was found in New Zealand pharmacy students’ understanding of and attitudes towards schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Nevertheless, students may need more help in developing skills to communicate with people with mental illness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-55
Number of pages1
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Volume10
Issue number5
Early online date17 Sep 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2014

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