Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 88, Issue 1, pp 25–38 | Cite as

Attitudes Towards the Mentally Ill: A Study with Health Workers at a University Hospital in Rio de Janeiro

  • Sylvia Rosa Gonçalves Siqueira
  • Lúcia Abelha
  • Giovanni Marcos Lovisi
  • Keli Rodrigues Sarução
  • Lawrence Yang
Original Paper


As there are few studies about evaluation of attitudes of health care workers to people with mental disorders in Brazil, a cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the health professionals’ attitudes working in a university hospital in Rio de Janeiro and also examine the proportion of negative and positive attitudes endorsed by healthcare professionals in Brazil towards people with mental illness in comparison with other parts of the world. Data were collected using the Community Attitudes towards the Mentally Ill (CAMI) in a random sampling frame of health professionals (n = 246) working in a University Hospital in Rio de Janeiro between April 2013 and June 2013. The CAMI consists of four sub-scales: Authoritarianism, Benevolence, Social Restrictiveness and Community Mental Health Ideology. The results showed attitudes that range from neutral to positive, with the Benevolence and Social Restrictiveness sub-scales showing the least stigmatizing results. The following individual characteristics were associated with negative attitudes: lower levels of education and less clinical experience. In general, health workers attitudes towards service users are characterized as positive when compared with other international studies. However, educational programs for health workers should be reinforced to further promote pre-existing positive attitudes towards people with mental health and the implementation of Brazilian Mental Health Policies.


Attitudes of health workers Social stigma Severe mental disorders 



This study was funded by FAPERJ (Rio de Janeiro State Foundation to Support Research; Grant Number: E-26/1011.843/2012).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

The informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Research Involving Human and Animal Rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


  1. 1.
    Stuart H, Arboleda-Florez J.: Community attitudes toward people with schizophrenia. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 46(3):245–252, 2001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Perlick DA, Rosenheck RA, Clarkin JF, Sirey JA, Salahi J, Struening EL, Link BG.: Stigma as a barrier to recovery: adverse effects of perceived stigma on social adaptation of persons diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder. Psychiatric Services 52(12):1627–1632, 2001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Corrigan PW, Kerr A, Knudsen L.: The stigma of mental illness: explanatory models and methods for change. Applied and Preventive Psychology 11(3):179–190, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Botega NJ, Dalgalarrondo P. Saúde mental no hospital geral: espaço para o psíquico. In Saúdeloucura. 1993, (Vol. 9). Hucitec.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Link BG, Cullen FT, Frank J, Wozniak JF.: The social rejection of former mental patients: Understanding why labels matter. American Journal of Sociology 1461–1500, 1987.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Penn DL, Kommana S, Mansfield M, Link BG.: Dispelling the stigma of schizophrenia: II. The impact of information on dangerousness. Schizophrenia Bulletin 25(3):437–446, 1999.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Angermeyer MC, Matschinger H, Corrigan PW.: Familiarity with mental illness and social distance from people with schizophrenia and major depression: testing a model using data from a representative population survey. Schizophrenia Research 69(2):175–182, 2004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Schulze B.: Stigma and mental health professionals: A review of the evidence on an intricate relationship. International Review of Psychiatry 19(2):137–155, 2007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wahl O, Aroesty-Cohen E.: Attitudes of mental health professionals about mental illness: A review of the recent literature. Journal of Community Psychology 38(1):49–62, 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Adewuya AO, Oguntade AA.: Doctors’ attitude towards people with mental illness in Western Nigeria. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 42(11):931–936, 2007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Vibha P, Saddichha S, Kumar R.: Attitudes of ward attendants towards mental illness: Comparisons and predictors. International Journal of Social Psychiatry 54(5):469–478, 2008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Chambers M, Guise V, Välimäki M, Botelho MAR, Scott A, Staniuliené V, Zanotti R.: Nurses’ attitudes to mental illness: A comparison of a sample of nurses from five European countries. International Journal of Nursing Studies 47(3):350–362, 2010.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mion JZ, Schneider JF.: Leitos psiquiátricos em hospital geral: visão de profissionais que atuam em hospital geral. Revista Eletrônica de Enfermagem 5(1), 2006 Disponível em http:/ Acessado em 15/07/2011.
  14. 14.
    Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Secretaria de Atenção à Saúde/DAPE. Saúde mental no SUS: as novas fronteiras da Reforma Psiquiátrica. Brasília: Ministério da Saúde. 2011, 106 p. Relatório de gestão 2007–2010.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pedrão LJ, Galera SAF, Silva MCP, Gonzalez AC, Costa Júnior MLD, Souza MCB.: Perfil das atitudes de formandos em enfermagem frente aos transtornos mentais no Brasil, Chile e Peru. Rev Latino-am Enfermagem 13(3):339–43, 2005.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Delevati DM, Palazzo LDS.: Atitudes de empresários do sul do Brasil em relação aos portadores de doenças mentais. Jornal Brasileiro de Psiquiatria 57(4):240–246, 2008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wolff G, Pathare S, Craig T, Leff J. Community attitudes to mental illness. The British Journal of Psychiatry 168(2):183–190, 1996.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Taylor SM, Dear MJ.: Scaling community attitudes toward the mentally ill. Schizophrenia Bulletin 7(2):225–240, 1981.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gonçalves S, Abelha L, Legay LF, Lovisi, GM.: Community attitudes toward mentally ill (CAMI). Cad. Saúde Colet 16(4):749–764, 2008.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Abelha L, Gonçalves S, Fonseca D, Legay L, Yang L, Valencia E, Lovisi G, Sarução, K. Analysis of Psychometric properties of the Brazilian Portuguese version of the Community Attitudes towards the Mentally Ill (CAMI-BR). Revista de la Facultad de Ciencias Medicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (accept – expected to be published by June 2015).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tabachnick BG, Fidell LS. Using multivariate statistics, 2001.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Brugha TS, Wing JK, Smith BL.: Physical health of the long-term mentally ill in the community. Is there unmet need?. The British Journal of Psychiatry 155(6):777–781, 1989.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Brockington IF, Hall P, Levings J, Murphy C.: The community’s tolerance of the mentally ill. The British Journal of Psychiatry 162(1):93–99, 1993.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Barke A, Nyarko S, Klecha D.: The stigma of mental illness in Southern Ghana: attitudes of the urban population and patients’ views. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 46(11):1191–1202, 2011.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Wolff G, Pathare S, Craig T, Leff J.: Community knowledge of mental illness and reaction to mentally ill people. The British Journal of Psychiatry 168(2):191–198, 1996.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Papadopoulos C, Leavey G, Vincent C.: Factors influencing stigma. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 37(9):430–434, 2002.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvia Rosa Gonçalves Siqueira
    • 1
  • Lúcia Abelha
    • 2
  • Giovanni Marcos Lovisi
    • 2
  • Keli Rodrigues Sarução
    • 2
  • Lawrence Yang
    • 3
  1. 1.Studies Center of the Municipal Institute of Health Care Juliano Moreira (CE/IMASJM)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of Studies in Collective Health (IESC)Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations