Mental health professionals’ attitudes towards mental illness: professional and cultural factors in the INTER NOS study



Research shows that personnel working in mental health facilities may share some of the societal prejudices towards mental illness. This might result in stigmatizing behaviours towards people suffering from mental disorders, undermining the quality of their care.


To describe and compare attitudes towards mental illness across a sample of professionals working in a wide range of mental health facilities in Spain, Portugal and Italy.


We administered a survey to personnel including two questionnaires related to stigmatizing attitudes: The Community Attitudes toward the Mentally Ill (CAMI) and the Attribution Questionnaire (AQ-27). Data were compared according to professional category, work setting and country.


34.06% (1525) professionals of the surveyed population responded adequately. Psychologists and social therapists had the most positive attitudes, and nursing assistants the most negative, on most factors of CAMI and AQ-27. Community staff had more positive attitudes than hospital-based professionals in most factors on CAMI and in discriminatory responses on AQ-27.


Globally, mental health professionals showed a positive attitude towards mental illness, but also a relative support to coercive treatments. There are differences in attitudes modulated by professional category and setting. Results can guide preventive strategies, particularly for the hospital-based and nursing staff.

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THE INTER NOS WORKING GROUP included professionals of Sisters Hospitallers that collaborated as key managers of research at every center: Ana Moreno-Alcazar: FIDMAG Hermanas Hospitalarias Research Foundation, Barcelona, Spain; Isabel Feria: FIDMAG Hermanas Hospitalarias Research Foundation, Barcelona, Spain; Pedro P. Padilla: Centro Neuropsiquiátrico Nuestra Sra. Del Carmen, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Zaragoza, Spain; José A. Larraz: Hospital Sagrat Cor, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Martorell, Spain, Josep Treserra: Benito Menni Complex Assistencial en Salut Mental, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain; Ana C. Pérez: Hospital Sant Rafael, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Barcelona, Spain; Pedro Roy: Hospital Mare de Déu de la Mercé, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Barcelona, Spain; Ana Morais: Casa de Saúde da Idanha, Irmãs Hospitaleiras, Lisbon, Portugal; Carla Costa: Casa de Saúde Bento Menni, Irmãs Hospitaleiras, Guarda, Portugal; Cecília Vilas- Boas: Casa de Saúde do Bom Jesus, Irmãs Hospitaleiras, Braga, Portugal; Mariana Correia: Casa de Saúde do Espírito Santo, Irmãs Hospitaleiras, Angra do Heroísmo (Azores), Portugal; Nuno Nunes: Casa de Saúde N. Sra. da Conceição, Irmãs Hospitaleiras, Ponta Delgada (Azores), Portugal; Rosa Simões: Casa de Saúde Rainha Santa Isabel, Irmãs Hospitaleiras, Condeixa-a-Nova, Portugal; Paula Carneiro: Irmãs Hospitaleiras, Lisbon, Portugal; Adolfo Lander: Hospital Aita Menni, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Mondragón, Spain; Javier Remirez: Hospital Psiquiátrico Padre Menni, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Pamplona, Spain; Javier Arellano: Complejo Hospitalario San Luís, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Palencia, Spain; Carlos V. Pajares: Centro Hospitalario Padre Menni, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Santander, Spain; Antonio Rodríguez: Centro Hospitalario Benito Menni, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Valladolid, Spain; Raúl Huerta: Complejo Asistencial Benito Menni, ,Hermanas Hospitalarias, Madrid, Spain; María Jáñez: Clinica San Miguel, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Madrid, Spain; David Porta: Complejo Asistencial Málaga, Hermanas Hospitalarias, Málaga, Spain; Alessandro Valchera: Villa San Giuseppe, Suore Ospedaliere, Ascoli, Italy; Paolo Carbonetti: Casa di Cura Villa Rosa, Suore Ospedaliere, Viterbo, Italy.


Funding for the study was provided by Sisters Hospitallers with resources of their own.

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Correspondence to Eduardo González-Fraile.

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The members of The INTER NOS Group has been moved to acknowledgements

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Del Olmo-Romero, F., González-Blanco, M., Sarró, S. et al. Mental health professionals’ attitudes towards mental illness: professional and cultural factors in the INTER NOS study. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 269, 325–339 (2019).

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  • Mental illness
  • Stigma
  • Mental health professionals
  • Social distance
  • Health personnel attitude