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

ArticleinJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 16(3):279-84 · May 2009with93 Reads
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.
    • "Clinicians felt most strongly negative towards illicit drug users often feeling unwilling or unable to empathize with these patients [12]. A vignette study by Rao and colleagues [13] showed that more stigmatizing attitudes toward patients who were actively using substances compared to other mental health illnesses. Familiarity and exposure to the SUDs population has an effect on how clinicians perceive these patients. "
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    • "High utilization of neurologist services and low utilization of specialized mental health services could be explained by stigma associated with seeking psychiatric care. Stigma as a major barrier to use psychiatric care has been documented by various studies [40], [41], [42] . In Georgia psychiatric outpatient clinics (dispensaries) are not integrated in the primary care, they are stand-alone facilities or attached to the psychiatric hospitals. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is large gap in mental illness treatment globally and potentially especially so in war-affected populations. The study aim was to examine health care utilization patterns for mental, behavioural and emotional problems among the war-affected adult population in the Republic of Georgia. A cross-sectional household survey was conducted among 3600 adults affected by 1990s and 2008 armed conflicts in Georgia. Service use was measured for the last 12 months for any mental, emotional or behavioural problems. TSQ, PHQ-9 and GAD-7 were used to measure current symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety. Descriptive and regression analyses were used. Respondents were predominantly female (65.0%), 35.8% were unemployed, and 56.0% covered by the government insurance scheme. From the total sample, 30.5% had symptoms of at least one current mental disorder. Among them, 39.0% sought care for mental problems, while 33.1% expressed facing barriers to accessing care and so did not seek care. General practitioners (29%) and neurologists (26%) were consulted by the majority of those with a current mental disorder who accessed services, while use of psychiatric services was far more limited. Pharmacotherapy was the predominant type of care (90%). Female gender (OR 1.50, 95% CI: 1.25, 1.80), middle-age (OR 1.83, 95% CI: 1.48, 2.26) and older-age (OR 1.62, 95% CI: 1.19, 2.21), possession of the state insurance coverage (OR 1.55, 95% CI: 1.30, 1.86), current PTSD symptoms (OR 1.56, 95% CI: 1.29, 1.90) and depression (OR 2.12, 95% CI: 1.70, 2.65) were associated with higher rates of health service utilization, while employed were less likely to use services (OR 0.71, 95% CI: 0.55, 0.89). Reducing financial access barriers and increasing awareness and access to local care required to help reduce the burden of mental disorders among conflict-affected persons in Georgia.
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    • "In this context, people with drug use disorders seem to be an especially vulnerable group. In particular, several studies have shown that people with drug use disorders are severely stigmatized compared to other groups of people with mental disorders (Rao et al., 2009; Schomerus et al., 2011). It is difficult to reduce this problem since stigmatizing attitudes regarding drug abuse are widely accepted, culturally endorsed and enshrined in law enforcement (Livingstone, Milne, Fang, and Amari, 2011).Thus, people with drug abuse problems can encounter several obstacles that could make their recovery more difficult. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The goal of the present study has been to exploratorily analyse the possible differences in perceived stigma on drug use between a sample of students and health services workers from Italy and Belgium. The Perceived Stigma of Addiction Scale (PSAS) (Luoma, Hair, Kohlenberg, Hayes, and Fletcher, 2010) was used. A total of 277 participants took part in this study. Outcomes showed that the perceived stigma among Italians was signifi- cantly higher (M= 23.68) than that reported by Belgians (M = 20.26). Authors argued that many factors (e.g., social, cultural, etc.) may explain the differences obtained. On the other hand, the existence of a stigma circuit (Scioli and Paniccia), which would share some similarities with the anxiety circuit, seems to trap the person in a vicious cycle of events that would make the relapse from addiction harder. The limitations and scope of the obtained results in the frame of this ex- ploratory study is discussed.
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