Effects of an education training program on attitudes to electroconvulsive therapy

J ECT. 2007 Jun;23(2):82-8. doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3180421a0a.


Widespread negative attitudes toward electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are present in the general public and among heath care professionals. However, there is evidence to suggest that clinical experience and knowledge of ECT positively improve attitudes toward this treatment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of an ECT education training program on attitudes toward ECT. Participants were 73 student nurses (91.8% women) and 21 care aid students (81.0% women) undertaking a 6-week rotation in psychiatry at a large provincial psychiatric hospital in British Columbia, Canada. The ECT education training program consisted of a brief lecture, viewing of an educational videotape, familiarization with the ECT equipment, and observation of an ECT treatment. Participants completed a short questionnaire pretraining and posttraining program. Attitudes toward ECT did not substantially differ between the 2 groups. For the entire sample, only 8.5% reported that they were well informed about ECT before the training session. More favorable attitudes were reported upon completion of the ECT education program compared with attitudes reported before training. These findings suggest that attitudes toward ECT increase favorably when individuals are provided with training and experience.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • British Columbia
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Education, Nursing*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Assistants / education*
  • Psychiatry / education*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires