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

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2009 Apr;16(3):279-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2008.01369.x.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Employment / psychology
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prejudice
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology*
  • Stereotyping*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires