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Mental health professionals’ attitudes towards people with mental illness: Do they differ from attitudes held by people with mental illness?
Lunds Universitet.
Halmstad University, School of Social and Health Sciences (HOS), Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI), Health promotion and disease prevention.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9753-0988
Halmstad University, School of Social and Health Sciences (HOS), Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI), Health promotion and disease prevention.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4438-6673
Lunds Universitet.
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Social Psychiatry, ISSN 0020-7640, E-ISSN 1741-2854Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

AIMS: Studies investigating mental health professionals' attitudes towards people with mental illness are scarce and there is a lack of comparative studies including both patients' and mental health professionals' attitudes. The aim of the present study was to investigate mental health staff's attitudes towards people with mental illness and compare these with the attitudes of patients in contact with mental health services. A further aim was to relate staff attitudes to demographic and work characteristics.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was performed including 140 staff and 141 patients. The study included a random sample of outpatients in contact with mental health services in the southern part of Sweden and staff working in these services. Attitudes were investigated using a questionnaire covering beliefs of devaluation and discrimination of people with a mental illness.

RESULTS: Negative attitudes were prevalent among staff. Most negative attitudes concerned whether an employer would accept an application for work, willingness to date a person who had been hospitalized, and hiring a patient to take care of children. Staff treating patients with a psychosis or working in inpatient settings had the most negative attitudes. Patient attitudes were overall similar to staff attitudes and there were significant differences in only three out of 12 dimensions. Patients' most negative attitudes were in the same area as the staff's.

CONCLUSIONS: This study points to the suggestion that mental health care staff may hold negative attitudes and beliefs about people with mental illness with tentative implications for treatment of the patient and development and implementation of evidence-based services. Since patients and staff in most respects share these beliefs, it is essential to develop interventions that have an impact on both patients and staff, enabling a more recovery-oriented staff-patient relationship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Sage Publications, 2011.
Keyword [en]
stigma, mental illness, mental health staff, attitudes, staff-patient relationship
National Category
Psychiatry Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-15938DOI: 10.1177/0020764011423176PubMedID: 21954319OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-15938DiVA: diva2:435943
Available from: 2011-08-22 Created: 2011-08-22 Last updated: 2016-02-26Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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