Can reading too much make me run mad? Exploring students’ assumptions and academic performance
To determine the prevalence of the assumption that ‘reading too much’ could cause madness (i.e., severe mental illness) among medical, nursing, and community health students, and also explore the relationship between these students’ status on this assumption and their academic performance.
This study was a cross-sectional study conducted among a convenient sample of medical, nursing, and community health students (n = 122) studying within the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital campus, Sokoto, Nigeria. Study tool was a paper questionnaire, which obtained information on the demographic profile, awareness of ‘madness’, assumption that ‘reading too much’ is a cause of madness, and self-rating of the participants’ academic performance in their current course of study. Data collected was analysed using the SPSS version 20 software. Test of associations between variables were done using Chi square test.
The mean age of the 122 respondents was 27.3 years, majority (61.5%) of them were males, and 53.3% were medical students. More than half of the surveyed nursing students (54.2%) and community health students (55.6%), unlike the surveyed medical students (24.6%), had the assumption that reading too much could make them run mad. There was no statistically significant relationship between the assumption that ‘reading too much’ is a cause of mental illness and academic performance of the respondents.
Assumption that reading too much could cause madness is a fairly common phenomenon among the surveyed tertiary school students, irrespective of their level of academic performance. There exists the need to disabuse the minds of tertiary school students from the assumption that reading too much could make one run mad.
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