Pharmacy students' attitudes toward and professional interactions with people with mental disorders

Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2008 Sep;54(5):402-13. doi: 10.1177/0020764008090427.

Abstract

Background: Health professionals frequently exhibit negative attitudes toward people with mental disorders. It is not known whether stigmatising attitudes among pharmacy students predict less positive attitudes toward consumer participation in decision-making about medications.

Aims: (1) To assess the attitudes of pharmacy students toward people with schizophrenia, and (2) to determine whether stigma predicts less positive attitudes toward concordant medication counselling.

Method: All pharmacy students enrolled in a five-year degree program were invited to participate. Students completed the seven-item Social Distance Scale, six items related to stereotypical attributes of people with schizophrenia and the 14-item Leeds Attitudes Toward Concordance Scale.

Results: Completed survey instruments were received from 157 students (94% response rate). Previous employment in a pharmacy and personal experience of a mental disorder were associated with low social distance. Later year of study, believing that people with schizophrenia are difficult to talk to, and believing people with schizophrenia have themselves to blame were predictive of high social distance. Low social distance and later year of study were associated with positive attitudes toward providing concordant medication counselling.

Conclusion: Mental health stigma was common and predictive of less positive attitudes toward consumer participation in decision-making about medications.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Students, Pharmacy / psychology*
  • Students, Pharmacy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Workplace*