Improving attitudes toward electroconvulsive therapy

Oakley Cheung, Marc Baker, Paul Tabraham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Aims and method: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) often causes fear in the general public because of media representation and negative reported side-effects. This study evaluates a new video focusing on experiences of ECT and how this can aid communicating medical information to the public. Knowledge and attitudes toward ECT after watching the video were compared with a group that received no information and a group that read the current NHS leaflet on ECT. The role of empathy was also considered as a covariate.

Results: The video was the only condition found to positively affect knowledge and attitudes toward ECT. The video was especially beneficial to those that possessed low perspective-taking trait empathy.

Clinical implications: These findings demonstrate the video improved knowledge and attitudes toward ECT compared with current material or no information. We suggest that the addition of personal experiences to public information adds perspective, improving overall attitudes toward health treatments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4–10
Number of pages7
JournalBJPsych Bulletin
Issue number1
Early online date15 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • electroconvulsive therapy
  • patient information
  • trait empathy
  • perspective-taking
  • education


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