An Assessment of Attitudes Towards People with Mental Illness Among Medical Students and Physicians in Ibadan, Nigeria
- 509 Downloads
The authors surveyed attitudes towards mental illness among Nigerian medical personnel at three different levels of training and experience: medical students who had not completed their psychiatry rotation, medical students who had competed their psychiatry rotation, and graduate physicians.
Six questions addressed beliefs about the effectiveness of treatments for four specific mental illnesses (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety) and two medical illnesses (diabetes and hypertension) among the three groups. A self-report questionnaire including 56 dichotomous items was used to compare beliefs about and attitudes towards people with mental illness. Factor analysis was used to identify key attitudes and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to compare the groups adjusting for age and personal experience with people with mental illness.
There were no significant trends in attitudes towards the effectiveness of medication. Exploratory factor analysis of the beliefs and attitudes items identified four factors: (1) comfort socializing with people with mental, illness; (2) non-superstitious beliefs about the causes of mental illness; (3) neighborly feelings towards people with mental illness; and (4) belief that stress and abuse are part of the etiology of mental illness. ANCOVA comparing attitudes among the three groups showed that on three (1, 2, and 4) of the four factors medical students who had completed a rotation in psychiatry had significantly higher scores than the medical students who had not completed a rotation in psychiatry. Graduate physicians showed a similar pattern scoring higher than the medical students who had not completed a rotation in psychiatry in two factors (1 and 4) but showed no differences from students who had completed their psychiatry rotation.
While beliefs about medication effectiveness do not differ between medical trainees and graduate professionals, stigmatizing attitudes towards people with mental illness seem to be most strongly affected by clinical training. Psychiatric education and especially clinical experience result in more progressive attitudes towards people with mental illness.
KeywordsEducation Mental illness Schools
We thank the Wilber G. Downs Fellowship, Yale School of Medicine Office of Research, staff of University College Hospital Ibadan, Nigeria, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) of Oyo State, and student hosts, Patricia Ukpe and Elizabeth Soladoye, for facilitating this experience.
The authors have no conflict of interest to report.
- 2.Thornicroft G. Shunned: discrimination against people with mental illness. UK: Oxford University Press; 2006.Google Scholar
- 6.Lillian Okenwa, Bill to repeal lunacy act coming, THIS DAY, Apr. 6, 2001, available at http://www.thisdayonline.com/archive/2001/04/06/index.html.
- 7.Westbrook AH. Mental health legislation and involuntary commitment in Nigeria: a call for reform. Wash Univ Glob Stud Law Rev. 2011;10(2):397.Google Scholar
- 8.WHO-AIMS Report on mental health system in Nigeria, WHO and Ministry of Health, Ibadan, Nigeria, 2006.Google Scholar
- 16.Sadiq S, Abdulrahman S, Bradley M. Integrating mental health into primary care in Iraq. Ment Health Fam Med. 2011;8:39–49.Google Scholar
- 17.Mansouri N, Gharaee B, Shariat SV, et al. The change in attitude and knowledge of health care personnel and general population following trainings provided during integration of mental health in primary health care in Iran: a systematic review. Int J Ment Heal Syst. 2009;3(1):15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 20.Arkar H, Eker D. Influence of a 3-week psychiatric training programme on attitudes toward mental illness in medical students. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatry Epidemiol. 1997;32(3):171–6.Google Scholar
- 22.Iheanacho T, Marienfeld C, Stefanovic E, Rosenheck R. Attitudes towards mental illness and changes associated with a brief educational intervention for medical and nursing students in Nigeria (In press accepted for publication in Academic Psychiatry June 2013.Google Scholar
- 23.The WPA. Programme to Reduce stigma and discrimination because of schizophrenia. Geneva: World Psychiatric Association; 2000.Google Scholar
- 26.Adekson,M., The Yorùbá traditional healers of Nigeria. Molefi Asante ed., 2003, 26–38.Google Scholar
- 29.Assessment for Yoruba in Nigeria http://www.cidcm.umd.edu/mar/assessment.asp?groupId=47505.