A study of stigmatized attitudes towards people with mental health problems among health professionals

Psychiatry, Tower Hamlets SAU, Mile End Hospital, London, UK.
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing (Impact Factor: 0.84). 05/2009; 16(3):279-84. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2008.01369.x
Source: PubMed


The project aimed to assess stigmatized attitudes among health professionals directed towards patients with mental health problems. The Attitude to Mental Illness Questionnaire was used to assess participants' attitudes towards fictitious patients from a secure forensic hospital and patients with schizophrenia and substance use disorders. Participants were health professionals from acute and mental health settings. In total, 108 completed questionnaires were received. Participants had highly stigmatized attitudes towards patients from a forensic hospital and those with active substance use disorders. Attitudes were less stigmatized to people with substance use disorders who were recovering in remission. This suggested that health professionals have stigmatized attitudes towards an illness such as schizophrenia and this is worse towards patients from a secure hospital. The manner in which patients with substance use disorder are presented can have a significant effect on stigmatized attitudes by health professionals.

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    • "As SUDs lead to substantial economic losses and multiple social problems, substance users are viewed with a certain degree of stigma. The stigmatization may be much more than that for other health conditions for a variety of reasons (Rao et al. 2009; Ronzani et al. 2009; Schomerus et al. 2011). Substance use often co-exists with a range of other stigmatized health conditions (e.g., HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C virus, mental illness), potentially unsafe behaviors (e.g., rash driving), and deplorable social conditions (e.g., poverty, criminality) (Dean & Rud 1984). "
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