Navigation Links
Personal experience, work seniority improve mental health professionals' outlook
Date:2/4/2014

One might think that after years of seeing people at their worst, mental health workers would harbor negative attitudes about mental illness, perhaps associating people with mental health issues as less competent or dangerous. But a new study suggests the opposite.

In a survey of 731 mental health professionals in Washington state, the more seniority employees had on the job, the more positively they viewed people with mental illness. The survey also linked mental health workers' positive attitudes with having advanced degrees and reporting a mental illness themselves.

"The results suggest that the more exposure you have personally and professionally to mental illness, the more positive attitudes you'll have," said Jennifer Stuber, lead author of the paper and an assistant professor of social work at the University of Washington.

Pervasive, stigmatizing views of people with mental illness can create barriers for their employment, housing, medical treatment and social relationships, wrote Stuber in the study published online in January by Psychiatric Services.

Mental health workers having these biased, denigrating views could set low expectations for improvement for individuals seeking treatment, she said.

The study, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and National Institute of Mental Health, is among the first in the United States to examine attitudes among mental health professionals.

"On one hand, it may be the case that mental health professionals become hardened, because they see people at their worst and become discouraged if treatment is slow," Stuber said. "On the other hand, more experience may make mental health professionals more empathetic to their clients and aware of the possibility of recovery."

Stuber and her research team conducted 30-minute online surveys assessing the perceived competence and dangerousness of individuals with depression and schizophrenia. A sample of mental health professionals counselors, social workers, psychologists, case managers and others living in Washington read vignettes portraying people who had symptoms of depression or schizophrenia.

Then the participants answered questions gauging how much distance they would want to keep from the people in the vignettes. Would they want the person as their neighbor, housemate, co-worker or spouse? How likely is the person to be dangerous or make responsible financial or treatment decisions? Such questions are used in other surveys that measure stereotypes and stigmas such as those against people who are gay or use drugs.

Stuber and her colleagues found that mental health workers who had at least a four-year college degree, a job position denoting greater seniority (for example, program manager) and a mental illness themselves had more positive attitudes about people with mental health problems.

"The finding that stands out the most is that almost a third of mental health professionals disclosed that they received a diagnosis of mental illness in the past," Stuber said. "This prior experience was associated with less negative attitudes, which has implications for how we think of the relevance of that experience in recruiting for a mental health workforce."

The researchers compared the findings to attitudes held by non-experts, composed of close to 400 adults taking the biennial national General Social Survey.

Overall, mental health workers held more positive attitudes than did the general public. For instance, 40 percent of mental health providers and 70 percent of the general public indicated they wouldn't want someone with schizophrenia as a co-worker. Similarly, 35 percent of mental health workers and 70 percent of the public considered people with schizophrenia to be dangerous.

"The study shows that even though mental health professionals have by and large more favorable views about mental health patients than the public, stigmatizing attitudes still exist," Stuber said.

For instance, she said, people have persistent misguided beliefs that individuals with schizophrenia are dangerous and prone to violence.

"We know that mental illness alone isn't a predictor of violence. But when combined with alcohol, drugs or abuse, a prior history of violence mental illness can be a contributing factor to violence," Stuber said. "We need to train mental health providers to reject inaccurate public perceptions about people with mental illnesses."


'/>"/>

Contact: Molly McElroy
mollywmc@uw.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. New biomedical diagnostics using personalized 3-D imaging
2. Impulsive personality linked to food addiction
3. New computer model may aid personalized cancer care
4. CU-built software uses big data to battle forgetting with personalized content review
5. Healthspek Users Can Now Import Their Doctors’ Records into Their Personal Health Record
6. Personalized Medicine in Oncology Partnering Terms and Agreements, a New Research Report at ReportsnReports.com
7. Personal health record associated with improved medication adherence
8. The key to reaching personal goals in 2014: Conquer stress first
9. Deerfield Beach Personal Trainer and South Florida Fit Body Boot Camp Owner Launches Campaign Against New Year's Resolutions
10. Personal Trainer
11. The Show and Go System Review Can Help People Boost Their Strength, Performance and Athleticism - abb2u.com
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the leading network for professional ... action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New York City in June. ... a social audience of over 3 million. To watch the Mobilize Women video, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission ... lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” ... the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... WAUSAU, Wis. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 ... ... formulated standard products to meet the demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities ... team of probiotic experts and tested to meet the highest standard. , ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Dr. Parsa Mohebi, ... a medical article to the newly revamped Cosmetic Town journal section, ... hair transplant procedure known as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). , Dr. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the nation's first interactive health literacy software tool, and the Cancer Patient Education ... of cancer patient education, today announce a new strategic alliance. , As ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2, 2017 The Rebound mobile app is poised ... reverse the tide of prescription drug addiction. The app empowers ... intake and stepping down their dosage in a safe, controlled ... December 2017; the first 100,000 people to sign up will ... http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... 27, 2017  Commended for their devotion to personalized service, ... as number one in the South Florida Business Journal,s 50 ... 5000 yearly list, the national specialty pharmacy has found its ... will soon be honored by SFBJ as the 2017 ... Set to receive his award in October, Bardisa said ...
(Date:9/25/2017)...  EpiVax, Inc., a leader in the fields ... announced the launch of EpiVax Oncology Inc., a ... cancer vaccines. EpiVax has provided $500,000 in seed ... technologies to the new precision immunotherapy venture. Gad ... as Chief Executive Officer. Gad brings over 25 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: