Differential stigmatizing attitudes of healthcare professionals towards psychiatry and patients with mental health problems: something to worry about? A pilot study
Laura M. Gras, Marte Swart, Cees J. Slooff, Jaap van Weeghel, Henderikus Knegtering, Stynke Castelein
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
This study compares stigmatizing attitudes of different healthcare professionals towards psychiatry and patients with mental health problems.
The Mental Illness Clinicians Attitude (MICA) questionnaire is used to assess stigmatizing attitudes in three groups: general practitioners (GPs, n = 55), mental healthcare professionals (MHCs, n = 67) and forensic psychiatric professionals (FPs, n = 53).
A modest positive attitude towards psychiatry was found in the three groups (n = 176). Significant differences were found on the total MICA-score (p < 0.001). GPs scored significantly higher than the FPs and the latter scored significantly higher than the MHCs on all factors of the MICA. Most stigmatizing attitudes were found on professionalsí views of health/social care field and mental illness and disclosure. Personal and work experience did not influence stigmatizing attitudes.
Although all three groups have a relatively positive attitude using the MICA, there is room for improvement. Bias toward socially acceptable answers cannot be ruled out. Patientsí view on stigmatizing attitudes of professionals may be a next step in stigma research in professionals.