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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 223-227

Indian nursing students' attitudes toward mental illness and persons with mental illness

1 Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, Iqra Hospital, Calicut, Kerala, India
4 Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health And Hospital, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Seema Parija
Department of Psychiatry, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar - 751 024, Odisha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_25_16

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Background: Nursing fraternity play a pivotal role in psychiatric services. Negative attitudes toward mental illness have been consistently reported in nursing students. Psychiatric conditions and persons suffering from them may elicit different kinds of attitudinal responses. Objective: The current study aimed at assessing the attitude toward mental illness and also at comparative evaluation of the attitude toward persons with different psychiatric, physical, and social conditions. Materials and Methods: The present study was carried out among conveniently selected nursing students (n = 100) using Attitude Scale for Mental Illness (ASMI) and Attitude to Mental Illness Questionnaire (AMIQ) on their 1st day of psychiatric posting. Results: Higher stereotype (3.1 ± 0.8), benevolence (3.7 ± 0.6), and pessimistic prediction (3.4 ± 0.9) were reported toward mental illness. Negative attitude was noted toward persons with criminal background (4.8 ± 3.7), heroin abuse (3.2 ± 3.6), suicidal depression (1.36 ± 3.6), alcohol use (0.59 ± 4.38), and schizophrenia (0.03 ± 3.2) in the same order, with positive attitude toward diabetic (−4.4 ± 3.9) and religious persons (−5.13 ± 3.6). Significant correlation of ASMI scores was noted mainly with schizophrenia of AMIQ but not with other psychiatric conditions. Conclusion: High negative attitudes in nursing students underline the need for stronger antistigma measures. Differences in attitude toward mental illness in general and specific psychiatric conditions need further systematic evaluation.

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