Health professionals’ familiarity and attributions to mental illness

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Aghukwa Nkereuwem Chikaodiri *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Aghukwa Nkereuwem Chikaodiri | drchikan@yahoo.co.uk

Abstract

A few months from the time of this survey, the nearly completed inpatient psychiatric facility within the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital’s complex would be ready for admissions. Understanding the health workers’ level of experience of mental illness and their likely behavioural responses towards people with psychiatric illness, therefore, should be a good baseline to understanding their likely reactions towards admitting such patients within a general hospital setting. The study, which used a pre-tested and adapted attribution questionnaire, was pro­spective and cross-sectional. Randomly selected health workers in Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital had their level of familiarity and attributions towards psychiatric patients assessed. The respondents showed a high level of experience with mental illness, with more than 3 in 5 of them having watched movies on mental illness before. More than half of them held positive (favorable) attributions towards persons with mental illness on nine of the ten assessed attribution factors. Almost all held negative (unfavourable) opinion towards intimate relationships with such persons. Attribution factors, “Responsibility, “Anger”, “Dangerousness”, “Fear” and “Segregation” were significantly related to the respondents’ level of education (P less than 0.05). Marital status of the respondents related significantly to “Pity” and “Avoidance” factors (P less than 0.05). Having watched movies on mental illness significantly related to “Responsibility” and “Fear” factors (P less than 0.05). Programs designed to improve the health workers mental health literacy, and increased positive professional contacts with mentally ill persons on treatment, would further enhance their perceived positive attributions towards them.

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Author Biography

Aghukwa Nkereuwem Chikaodiri, Bayero University kano, Nigeria

Head of department of psychiatry Bayero University. Lecturer and an Honorary Consultant, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital kano Nigeria