Mental health nursing staff's attitudes towards mental illness: an analysis of related factors

Authors

  • G. Mårtensson RN PhD,

    Senior Lecturer, Associated Researcher, Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Health and Caring Sciences, University of Gävle, Sweden
    2. Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
    • Correspondence:

      G. Mårtenson

      Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies

      University of Gävle

      Kungsbäcksvägen 47

      Gävle

      80176

      Sweden

      E-mail: gls@hig.se

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  • J. W. Jacobsson PhD,

    Senior Lecturer, Associated Researcher
    1. Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Health and Caring Sciences, University of Gävle, Sweden
    2. Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
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  • M. Engström RN PhD

    Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor
    1. Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Health and Caring Sciences, University of Gävle, Sweden
    2. Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
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Abstract

Accessible summary

  • Employer/workplaces have an impact on mental health nursing staff's general attitudes towards persons with mental illness.
  • Staff have more positive attitudes if their knowledge about mental illness is less stigmatized and currently have or have once had a close friend with mental problem.
  • More favourable attitudes among staff towards persons with mental illness could be developed and transmitted in the subculture at work places.

Abstract

There is growing awareness that mental illness is surrounded by negative attitudes and stigmas. The aim of the present study was to investigate factors associated with mental health nursing staff's attitudes towards persons with mental illness. Data were collected from 256 mental health nursing staff employed by one county council and 10 municipalities. The findings show that staff have more positive attitudes towards persons with mental illness if their knowledge about mental illness is less stigmatized, their work places are in the county council, and they currently have or have once had a close friend with mental health problems. The multiple regression model explained 16% of the variance; stigma-related knowledge and employer had significant Beta-coefficients. To account for unknown correlations in data, a linear generalized estimating equation was performed. In this model, stigma-related knowledge and employer remained significant, but a new significant factor also emerged: personal contact, i.e. currently having or having once had a close friend with mental health problems. This indicates correlations at unit level in the county council and in the municipalities. The conclusion is that more favourable attitudes among staff towards persons with mental illness could be developed and transmitted in the subculture at work places.

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