There is a lack of current data regarding attitudes of doctors towards psychiatry. General practitioners (GPs) are increasingly involved in teaching psychiatry, and their attitudes towards psychiatry may affect their ability to promote psychiatry. The main aim of the study is to inform on current attitudes of GPs towards psychiatry as a discipline. The Attitudes Towards Psychiatry (ATP-30) questionnaire was administered to all GPs within Shropshire.
The response rate was 61% (n = 145 from N = 239). The mean score for the ATP-30 was 113.9. An association was found between GP trainer status and higher ATP-30 scores. Positive associations were found between demographic data (age, length of career, postgraduate experience of psychiatry, involvement in undergraduate teaching, GP trainer status) and individual response items on the ATP-30 scale.
General practitioners in Shropshire have a positive attitude towards psychiatry. Associations between demographic data and ATP-30 scores indicate that GPs with more experience of psychiatry and those involved in training may have more positive attitudes. The main limitation of the study is the lack of proven validity of the scale for use in this population. The positive attitude towards psychiatry is consistent with GPs providing the role models needed if they are to be involved to a greater degree with teaching and promoting psychiatry as a career. The need for the development of a more specific tool or an update to the existing tool is discussed.
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