Negative attitudes toward patients with mental illnesses are not uncommon among health professionals, and lead to poorer quality and outcomes of care. Because attitudes are formed early in life, the current study aimed to investigate if teaching psychiatry in secondary school nursing students (i.e., adolescents) changes attitudes toward three prevalent psychiatric disorders: schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. A pilot quasi-experimental study was conducted with 51 fourth-year students in secondary nursing school who completed a questionnaire regarding attitudes toward these disorders on the first and last day of their Nursing in Psychiatry course. Results show that the stigma attached to all three disorders was significantly reduced after students completed the course. Students attached greater stigma to schizophrenia than PTSD, and to PTSD than depression, before and after the course. The study indicates that education in psychiatry helps reduce negative attitudes toward PTSD, schizophrenia, and depression.
Goran Arbanas, PhD, MD; Dina Bosnjak, MD; Tamara Sabo, MD
Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services. 2018;56(3)