Objective: In order to gain a broader view about the process of recruitment, we decided to compare and analyze the differences between the attitudes and views of Spanish and U.S. medical students towards psychiatry. Methods: The opinions of 151 students who had completed psychiatry at the end of their fourth year were sought on the basis of their responses to a 33-item questionnaire, using a cross sectional design. Results: Although in general, Spanish students showed a positive attitude towards psychiatry, the opinion about certain aspects like the biopsychosocial concept of illness, salary, social pressure and respect from nonpsychiatry staff were different from U.S. students' opinions. Conclusion: These opinions may have influenced the 6% of Spanish students who chose psychiatry as a possible specialty, somewhat higher than the 4.5% of U.S. students. Copyright © 2005 Academic Psychiatry.