Attitudes Towards People with a Mental Disorder: A Survey of the Australian Public and Health Professionals

NHMRC Psychiatric Epidemiology Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 3.41). 03/1999; 33(1):77-83. DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-1614.1999.00513.x
Source: PubMed


The aim of this paper was to compare the Australian public's attitudes towards people who have been treated for a mental disorder with the attitudes of general practitioners, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
The study involved a household survey of 2031 members of the Australian public and a postal survey of 872 general practitioners, 1128 psychiatrists and 454 clinical psychologists. Survey participants were presented with a vignette describing a person with schizophrenia or one with depression. They were asked opinions about the person's long-term outcome in various areas of life after receiving treatment. Participants were also asked whether they thought the person described would be discriminated against by others.
Both the public and professionals rated outcomes as poorer and discrimination as more likely for the person with schizophrenia than for the one with depression. The professionals made more negative ratings than the public, although the clinical psychologists had similar attitudes to the public about depression.
Compared to the public, health professionals rate long-term outcomes more negatively and discrimination as more likely. It is possible that these more negative attitudes are realistic, being based on greater knowledge of mental disorders. However, professional attitudes may be biased by greater contact with patients who have chronic or recurrent disorders. Either way, health professionals need to be aware of the effects that their negative attitudes might have on patients and the public.

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    • "Sartorius (2007) claimed stigma attached to mental illness is the main obstacle to care delivery. Scior's (2011) systematic review demonstrated that the low social status of people with intellectual disability represents widespread negative social attitudes commonly held by most population groups without intellectual disability as described by Jorm et al. (1999) and Porter (1998). "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose-Over 1, 250 people with intellectual disabilities die unnecessarily every year in NHS care. The purpose of this paper is to develop higher-order learning amongst medical students to increase engagement with this disadvantaged group and redress this injustice in care provision.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014
    • "Most studies comparing healthcare professionals' attitudes toward people with mental illness with those of the general public have found few differences on standard stigma measures such as desire for social distance (Lauber, Nordt, Braunschweig, & Rossler , 2006; Nordt, Rossler, & Lauber, 2006; Schulze, 2007) and endorsement of negative stereotypes (Magliano, Fiorillo, De Rosa, Malangone, & Maj, 2004; Nordt et al., 2006). A few studies reported that healthcare professionals had more positive views than the public regarding prognosis, psychiatric treatment and patients' civil rights (Lauber, Nordt, Falcato, & Rössler, 2004; Nordt et al., 2006), whereas other studies (Caldwell & Jorm, 2001; Hugo, 2001; Jorm et al., 1999; Magliano et al., 2004; Nordt et al., 2006), found that mental health providers espouse more negative attitudes than the general public in that they stereotype persons with mental illness more and desire greater social distance. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This study compared the attitudes of mental health and primary care providers toward persons with schizophrenia at 5 Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. Method: This study utilized a cross-sectional anonymous survey, including clinical vignettes describing identical patient scenarios for a hypothetical patient with and without schizophrenia, to examine the differences in attitudes of primary care and mental health providers. The survey was distributed in 3 waves from August 2011 to April 2012. Participants included 351 VA providers from 5 VA medical centers, including 205 mental health providers (psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health nurses) and 146 primary care providers (nurses and physicians). Providers' attitudes were assessed on 3 domains, including social distance, stereotyping, and attribution of mental illness. Results: Primary care providers had significantly more negative attitudes toward the vignette patient with schizophrenia compared with the patient without schizophrenia on 2 of 3 attitude measures (stereotyping and attribution of mental illness); however, this difference was not observed for mental health providers on the 2 measures. Conclusions and Implication for Practice: Primary care providers' negative attitudes toward individuals with schizophrenia represent a potential target for interventions to reduce disparities in care for individuals with schizophrenia.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal
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    • "Similar attitudes have been identified across the western world in places such as Australia, Germany and the USA (e.g. Jorm et al., 1999; Angermeyer and Matschinger, 2003; Silton et al., 2011). A recent review has illustrated that public perceptions of mental health diagnoses vary across the diagnostic categories (Parle, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Stigma is one of the greatest challenges facing people with a psychiatric diagnosis. They are widely stigmatised by the general public in the western world. The aim of this study was to examine public stigma attitudes towards schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) 2008 opinions survey (n=1070) was utilised. Percentage of endorsements for stigma items were initially compared to the previous 1998 and 2003 databases. Overall stigma attitudes had decreased (from 1998 to 2008) but increased since 2003. A principal components factor analysis identified that stigma attitudes have the same three factors structure across all diagnoses; negative stereotypes, patient blame and inability to recover. Schizophrenia was significantly associated with the most negative stereotypes, least blamed and viewed as least likely to recover compared to anxiety and depression. Public and individualised interventions that target diagnostic variability in stigma attitudes need to be developed and examined in future research.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Psychiatry Research
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