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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 31-37

Nurses' attitude towards patients with mental illness in a general hospital in Kuwait


1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital, Jabriya, Kuwait
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Al.Amiri Hospital, Kuwait City, Kuwait
3 Department of Psychiatry, Health Sciences Center, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait

Correspondence Address:
Muhammad Ajmal Zahid
Department of Psychiatry, Health Sciences Center, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 24923, Safat 13110
Kuwait
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DOI: 10.4103/1658-631X.194249

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Introduction: Stigma and discrimination have been reported to cause unnecessary delay in mentally-ill patients seeking help, which adversely affects a patient's outcome. The attitude of health care professionals has been described as being, even more, negative than that of the general public, which worsens the prognosis for patients with a mental illness. Aims: The aim of this study was to describe the attitude of nurses toward mentally-ill patients in a general hospital. Methods: All the nurses in the hospital were administered a 40-item Community Attitudes Toward the Mentally-Ill (CAMI) questionnaire which determines whether the mentally-ill are viewed as “inferior;” deserve “sympathy;” perceived as a “threat” to society or “acceptable” if residing in community dwellings. The analysis of variance was performed to determine association of the four subscales with the individual characteristics, including age, gender, education, qualification type, position held, contact and contact type. Results: Out of a total of 990 nurses, 308 (31%) completed the CAMI questionnaire. The mean scores for the authoritarian (2.85), benevolent (3.66), social restrictiveness (2.97) and community mental health ideology (3.48) subscales reflected a negative attitude of nurses toward mentally-ill patients. The direct or indirect utilization of the mental health facilities resulted in significantly higher authoritarian and lower benevolence scores, indicating a positive attitude change in this group of nurses. Conclusion: Despite the small size and selective nature of the sample, the nurses' negative attitude toward the mentally-ill patients provides useful baseline data for further large-scale studies and underscores the need for psychoeducation of different health care professionals, including nurses.


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