Neurophobia and its Correlates among Undergraduate Clinical Students in a Nigerian Private University

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Chukwuma Okeafor
Ernest Nwazor


Neurophobia, neurology, clinical students, medical education


Background: The fear of neurology and neurosciences has been referred to as neurophobia. Neurophobia is a global phenomenon, that is worse in sub-Saharan Africa due to its impact on the already established huge gap in the neurologist-to-population ratio. The need to identify modifiable factors that could curb neurophobia stirred the current study, which aimed to determine the correlates of neurophobia among undergraduate clinical students.

Methodology: A cross-sectional design was adopted involving 173 undergraduate clinical students selected via stratified sampling. Content validated, self-administered questionnaire was utilized to obtain data on the perception of neurology, neurophobia, and demographic/academic-related characteristics. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed at the 0.05 significant level.

Results: The mean age (±SD) of the participants was 25.8(±2.2) years with a male-to-female ratio of 1:1.2. More than half of the undergraduate clinical students perceived neurology as being badly taught (77.5%), difficult to learn (83.2%), and with complex clinical examination (85.5%). The prevalence of neurophobia was 76.3% (n=132). The significant correlate of neurophobia was perceived poor knowledge of neurology. Students with poor perceived knowledge of neurology were about two times more likely to have neurophobia than those with perceived good knowledge (AOR=2.14; 95%CI: 1.04-4.41).

Conclusion: Approximately 8 in 10 undergraduate clinical students in Nigeria have neurophobia and the significant determining factor is their perceived poor knowledge. The need to adopt educational models that would strengthen academic prowess in neurology is strongly advocated as most of the students felt that the course was being badly taught.

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