Knowledge and attitude towards mental illness of key informants and general population: a comparative study

Dysphrenia. 2012 Jan-Jun;3(1):57-64. Epub 2011 Dec 25.


Background: Adverse attitudes to mental illness are found in all societies in the world. The belief that mental illness is incurable or self-inflicted can also be damaging, leading to patients not being referred for appropriate mental health care. Aims of the present study were (1) to assess the attitude towards mental illness of key informant of patients and general population and (2) to compare the two groups in respect to attitude towards mental illness.

Material and methods: Sample based on purposive sampling technique consisting of 200 subjects (100 key informants and 100 from general population) within age range of 25-55 years had been taken. Sample of key informants was taken from Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry & Allied Sciences (RINPAS) outpatients' department whereas the sample of general population was taken from Kanke area or within the radius of 5 K.M. from RINPAS, Kanke. Tools used were sociodemographic datasheet and self-developed checklist for assessing the attitude.

Results: (1) Significant difference was found in the area of nature, cause, after effect and community mental health ideology between both groups. (2) There was no significant difference in the area of treatment and stigma.

Conclusion: The findings of the present study suggested that there was growing awareness about mental illness even in general population and the people were being more receptive of the mentally ill people.

Keywords: After effect; Awareness; Burden; Community mental health; Stigma.