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Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy

, 2:21

First Online: 12 July 2007Received: 21 September 2006Accepted: 12 July 2007DOI: 10.1186-1747-597X-2-21

Cite this article as: Baumann, M. & Spitz, E. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy 2007 2: 21. doi:10.1186-1747-597X-2-21


BackgroundThere is evidence that medical students are more aware of the benefits of psychotropic treatment than are members of the general public, and that the more knowledge students acquire about psychiatry and pharmacology, the more favorable their attitudes become towards psychotropic drugs and other treatments.

ObjectivesThis study among students investigates the relationship between certain aspects of personality and attitudes towards advising adolescents with psychosocial problems about the use of psychotropic medication.

MethodsTwo groups of healthcare students were recruited from universities in Eastern France. 41 fourth-year medical students MS who had completed their psychiatry course, and 76 third-year psychology students PS in the faculty of human sciences. Respondents completed a self-administered instrument 20 brief case studies, and a personality inventory at the end of a lecture. Participation was voluntary and unpaid.

ResultsMS would recommend psychotropic drugs in 40% of the 20 cases, PS in 27%. MS who would prescribe psychotropic medication differed in personality profile from PS. MS with a tendency to experience anger and related states such as frustration, and who did not see fulfilling moral obligations as important were more likely to prescribe psychotropic drugs. Also more likely to recommend psychotropic drugs, but for different reasons, were PS who were susceptible to stress but not shy or socially anxious, who showed friendliness but little interest in others, and who lacked distance in their decision-making.

ConclusionHealth promotion is not simply a matter of educating those young people who take psychotropic drugs – health professionals must also question the criteria that inform their decisions. It is as important to investigate the attitudes of the future health professionals advisers or prescribers as it is to focus on consumer-related issues.

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Autor: Michèle Baumann - Elisabeth Spitz


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