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Attitudes towards mental disorders and emotional empathy in mental health and other healthcare professionals

By Georgina Gateshill, Kate Kucharska-Pietura and John Wattis

Abstract

Aims and method To compare attitudes towards mental disorders in professionals\ud working in mental health and professionals working in different areas of medicine.\ud Levels of emotional empathy in both groups were also investigated. In total, 58 mental\ud healthcare professionals and 60 non-mental healthcare professionals completed our\ud attitudes towards mental disorders questionnaire and Balanced Emotional Empathy\ud Scale.\ud Results The results reveal generally positive attitudes towards people with mental\ud disorders in both groups. Non-mental healthcare professionals regarded people with a\ud mental disorder as significantly more dangerous and unpredictable than did mental\ud healthcare professionals. There was no statistically significant difference in emotional\ud empathy between the two groups. Both groups cited illicit drug use as one of the most\ud significant causes of mental disorder.\ud Clinical implications Mental healthcare professionals and non-mental healthcare\ud professionals show broadly similar attitudes and a similar degree of empathy towards\ud people with a mental disorder. However, non-mental healthcare professionals regard\ud people with mental health problems as significantly more dangerous and\ud unpredictable. There is scope for further research including examining the effects of\ud educational interventions.\ud Declaration of interest None

Topics: RC0321
Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:10270

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