Attitudes towards mental illness among health care students at Swedish universities – A follow-up study after completed clinical placement

Department of Social Work, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Nurse education today (Impact Factor: 1.36). 04/2009; 29(6):660-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.nedt.2009.02.006
Source: PubMed


The aim of the study was to examine the changes in attitudes towards mental illness after theoretical education and clinical placement among students from university programmes preparing for different kinds of health professions. Three different questionnaires were used, measuring the level of familiarity with mental illness and attitudes towards mental illness in general and towards specific mental illnesses. The data were collected on two occasions, before the theoretical course and after the completed clinical placement. The result showed that the attitudes toward mental illness in general had changed in a less stigmatising direction after the clinical placement. On the other hand, attitudes toward specific mental illnesses did not show any major changes. A conclusion is that the clinical placement included in the university programmes to some extent could affect attitudes in a de-stigmatizing direction, possibly because of the interaction with persons suffering from mental illness and experienced supervisors.

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