Attitudes of healthcare professionals towards people with disorders/disabilities are important for the development of therapeutic relationships, as well as to the evaluation and intervention processes. Therefore, it is critical to be aware and reduce stigmatizing attitudes in future healthcare professionals. An 18-week anti-stigma course was developed for occupational therapy students based on literature review and focus group interview. The course consisted of three components, including social contact, roleplaying, and critical reflection strategies. A quasi-experimental design was implemented to evaluate participants at three time points (i.e., pre-test, post-test, and one year after completion) using the Social Distance Scale and several questionnaires (i.e., stigmatising attitudes towards mental illness, physical disabilities, and children with emotional behavioural disorders). A total of 16 students completed the course and had significantly decreased social distance and stigmatising attitudes towards mental illness and emotional behavioural disorders in the post-test. These decreases remained one year later. The results support the provision of an anti-stigma course for occupational therapy students to reduce stigmatising attitudes. Future research should extend the anti-stigma course to occupational therapy students at other universities to increase both the sample size and overall generalisability.
Keywords: anti-stigma; medical education; occupational therapy students.