A Western Australian Survey on Public Attitudes Toward and Knowledge of Electroconvulsive Therapy
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
AIMS: Healthcare professionals have debated the use and effects of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for more than 65 years. Yet, knowledge about, and attitudes towards, ECT have not been thoroughly researched within the Australian community. This study focused on a Western Australian perspective on these issues. METHOD: The objectives were achieved with specifically developed questionnaires. Six hundred surveys were distributed across the metropolitan area of Perth, Australia. RESULTS: A total of 379 completed questionnaires indicated that more than 60% of respondents had some knowledge about the main aspects of ECT. Participants were generally opposed to the use of ECT on individuals with psychosocial issues, on children and on involuntary patients. Public perceptions of ECT were also found to be mainly negative. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that clinicians should ensure that individuals recommended for ECT are knowledgeable about basic ECT processes and implications in order to ensure their full informed consent.