Hungarian medical students' knowledge about and attitudes toward electroconvulsive therapy

Gábor Gazdag, Nárcisz Kocsis-Ficzere, Judit Tolna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

22 Citations (Scopus)


A survey using self-administered questionnaires was conducted among fifth-year medical students beginning their psychiatry clerkships to assess their attitude toward and their basic knowledge of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The questionnaire, consisting of 28 questions, was completed by 127 students. Ten rated their own knowledge on ECT as mediocre, the rest of them as minimal. A total of 67% of the students would not consent to undergoing ECT themselves, not even if they had severe depression with psychotic features. ECT was believed to be used to bring violent patients under control by 35% of the students, was believed to be painful by 54%, and to be even dangerous by 50%. A total of 61% of the participants believed that ECT should only be used as a last resort, 35% found ECT outmoded, 32% thought that ECT causes permanent brain damage, and 14% would ban its use. Among the students refusing to be treated with ECT, the proportion of women was higher, and their attitude toward ECT was significantly more negative (P = 0.031) than that of those who would consent to ECT. The answers that psychiatrists often misuse ECT, that ECT is an outmoded therapy causing brain damage, and that the use of which should be forbidden were given more frequently by those who refused to be treated with ECT. Also, the attitude of those describing themselves as more knowledgeable about psychiatry was found to be significantly (P = 0.005) more negative than the attitude of those with minimal psychiatric knowledge. The frequent occurrence of incorrect beliefs about and negative attitudes toward ECT support the necessity of covering ECT in the medical school curriculum more thoroughly and in more detail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-99
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 22 2005


  • Attitude
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Hungary
  • Medical students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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