“Social dangerousness and incurability in schizophrenia”: Results of an educational intervention for medical and psychology students
Lorenza Magliano, John Read, Alessandra Sagliocchi, Nicoletta Oliviero, Antonio D’Ambrosio, Federica Campitiello, Antonella Zaccaro, Lorenzo Guizzaro, Melania Patalano
30 November 2014
•We explored if an educational intervention changes students’ views of schizophrenia.
•211 medical and psychology students attended the initiative and were pre-post tested.
•Students were more optimistic on recovery in schizophrenia at post vs. pre-test.
•Students were less convinced on schizophrenics’ dangerousness at post vs. pre-test.
•Students were more skeptical on schizophrenics’ unpredictability at post vs. pre-test.
This study explored the influence of an educational intervention addressing common prejudices and scientific evidence about schizophrenia on medical and psychology students’ views of this disorder. The intervention - consisting in two three-hour lessons with an interval of a week between - was run at first for medical students and then for psychology students. Participants’ views of schizophrenia were assessed at baseline vs. at post intervention by matched questionnaires. At medical school, participation was voluntary and also included a six-month online re-assessment, while at psychology school, participation was mandatory. A total of 211 students attended the educational initiative. At post intervention assessment, students more frequently mentioned psychosocial causes of schizophrenia, and more firmly believed that recovery in schizophrenia is possible and that persons with this disorder are not unpredictable and dangerous vs. their baseline assessment. The online six-month assessment confirmed favourable changes in medical students’ views found at post intervention. These results confirm that an educational intervention including personal experiences and scientific evidence can be successful in reducing students’ prejudices toward persons with schizophrenia.