Patient attitudes toward electroconvulsive therapy

Psychopharmacol Bull. 1994;30(3):471-5.


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a safe and effective treatment for major depression, has been more harshly criticized than any other psychiatric treatment. Despite widespread negative public opinion, clinical impressions that are supported by limited empirical data suggest that patients who benefit from ECT do not share these negative sentiments. This study surveyed attitudes toward ECT in 78 depressed inpatients, twice during hospitalization and at 6 months after discharge, using a semi-structured interview. Significantly more ECT-treated patients (n = 56) were favorable about ECT, compared to depressed patients (n = 22) never treated with ECT, both at pretreatment (chi square = 8.4, df = 1, p < .01) and at post-treatment (chi square = 12.5, df = 1, p < .01). Favorable attitudes were maintained after 6 months. ECT-treated patients, initially uncertain or negative about ECT, changed to a favorable attitude after completing treatment. Ninety-eight percent of ECT-treated patients said they would agree to ECT if they became depressed again.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged