The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1752-4458-8-26) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
All authors have no interests to disclose.
HH and RR designed the study, supervised the data collection, and assisted with writing the article. BS wrote the paper and carried out the statistical analysis. SN, MZ and XH acquired the data and NF assisted with writing the article. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Stigma towards people with mental illness is believed to be widespread in low and middle income countries.
This study assessed the attitudes towards people with mental illness among psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, involved family members of patients in a psychiatric facility and the general public using a standard 43-item survey (N = 535). Exploratory factor analysis identified four distinctive attitudes which were then compared using Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) among the four groups, all with ties to the largest psychiatric facility in Guangzhou, China, adjusting for sociodemographic differences.
Four uncorrelated factors expressed preferences for 1) community-based treatment, social integration and a biopsychosocial model of causation, 2) direct personal relationships with people with mental illness, 3) a lack of fear and positive views of personal interactions with people with mental illness, 4) disbelief in superstitious explanations of mental illness. Statistically significant differences favored community-based treatment and biopsychosocial causation (factor 1) among professional groups (psychiatrists and nurses) as compared with family members and the general public (p < 0.001); while family members, unexpectedly, showed far weaker personal preferences for direct personal relationships with people with mental illness than all three other groups (p < 0.001).
Both psychiatrists and nurses showed greater support for social integration and biopsychosocial understandings of mental illness than the lay public, most likely because of their training and experience, while family members showed the least positive attitudes towards direct personal relationships with people with mental illness. These findings suggest support for a more extensive, formal system of care that gives family members some distance from the problems of their relatives and support in their care.
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- Attitudes towards people with mental illness among psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, involved family members and the general population in a large city in Guangzhou, China
Robert A Rosenheck
- BioMed Central
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