Health Professionals’ Stigma towards the Psychiatric Ill in Nigeria
BACKGROUND: Stigma affects the quality of life of the mentally
ill, and health professionals are considered to be involved in possessing negative attitudes towards them. We evaluated the prevalence of stigmatization among different health professionals in Nigerian hospitals.
METHODS: This study was a descriptive, cross-sectional and comparative survey assessing attitudinal views of health professionals (doctors, pharmacists, and nurses) regarding mental illness in two hospitals in Eastern Nigeria. The survey utilized the 40-item Community Attitude to Mental Illness, CAMI-2 questionnaire. The prevalence and the factors that contribute to negative attitudes among this cohort were assessed. Statistical analysis using T-tests, ANOVA and Pearson Correlation were conducted.
RESULTS: Attitudes to all the four constructs of the CAMI-2 were
non-stigmatizing. Stigmatizing attitudes were significantly higher
among pharmacists, doctors and then nurses (p<0.006). Health professionals who did not have contact with the mentally ill (p<0.0001), who were males (p=0.008) and had lower years of working experience (p=0.031) expressed significantly higher stigmatizing attitudes towards the mentally ill.
Conclusions: Nigerian health professionals were largely non-stigmatizing
towards the mentally ill. However, being a pharmacist, of male gender, and working in a non-psychiatric hospital were associated with stigmatizing attitudes when they exist.
KEYWORDS: Mental illness; Stigma; Health Professionals;Survey