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Public stigma in health and non-healthcare students: attributions, emotions and willingness to help with adolescent self-harm.
Int J Nurs Stud. 2009 Jan; 46(1):107-18.IJ

Abstract

BACKGROUND

For people who self-harm, there is growing evidence to suggest that services and treatment outcomes can be adversely affected by healthcare staffs' stigmatising attitudes and behaviours. To date, the empirical literature has tended to focus on the attitudes of experienced healthcare professionals working with adults who self-harm. Additionally, there has been few theory or model-driven studies to help identify what healthcare students think and feel about young people who self-harm.

OBJECTIVES

The aim of the present study was to explore the way healthcare and non-healthcare students think and feel about adolescent self-harm behaviour using Corrigan et al.'s [Corrigan, P.W., Markowitz, F.E., Watson, A., Rowan, D., Kubiak, M.A., 2003. An attribution model of public discrimination towards people with mental illness. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 44, 162-179] attribution model of public discrimination towards people with mental illness.

DESIGN

The study was a questionnaire-based, cross-sectional, survey that consisted of two hypothetical vignettes.

SETTINGS

Two universities in England, United Kingdom.

PARTICIPANTS

One hundred and eighty-four final-year students, covering health (medicine, nursing, clinical psychology) and non-health care (physics) professions.

METHODS

Students were presented with vignettes describing a young female who self-harms. Attributions of controllability were experimentally manipulated across the vignette conditions and students were asked to complete self-report questionnaires measuring attitudes towards self-harm, familiarity with self-harm and social desirability.

RESULTS

Consistent with the public discrimination model, students who believed that a young person was responsible for their self-harm reported higher feelings of anger towards them. Anger, in turn, was associated with a belief in the manipulatory nature of the self-harm and with less willingness to help. Perceived risk was found to be associated with higher levels of anxiety and increased support for the use of coercive and segregatory strategies to manage self-harming behaviour. Gender and student type were important influences on public stigma, with both men and medical students reporting more negative attitudes towards self-harm.

CONCLUSIONS

This study provides evidence that a number of factors may adversely affect the care and treatment received by young people who self-harm, namely: students' causal attributions, the gender and profession of healthcare students, and familiarity with self-harm behaviour. To improve the effectiveness of service provision and treatment outcomes for people who self-harm, it is important that health care service providers and teaching institutions consider the implications of these factors when developing staff and services, and base interventions on theoretical models of stigma and discrimination.

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston B15 2TT, UK.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

18962601

Citation

Law, G Urquhart, et al. "Public Stigma in Health and Non-healthcare Students: Attributions, Emotions and Willingness to Help With Adolescent Self-harm." International Journal of Nursing Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2009, pp. 107-18.
Law GU, Rostill-Brookes H, Goodman D. Public stigma in health and non-healthcare students: attributions, emotions and willingness to help with adolescent self-harm. Int J Nurs Stud. 2009;46(1):107-18.
Law, G. U., Rostill-Brookes, H., & Goodman, D. (2009). Public stigma in health and non-healthcare students: attributions, emotions and willingness to help with adolescent self-harm. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 46(1), 107-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2008.08.014
Law GU, Rostill-Brookes H, Goodman D. Public Stigma in Health and Non-healthcare Students: Attributions, Emotions and Willingness to Help With Adolescent Self-harm. Int J Nurs Stud. 2009;46(1):107-18. PubMed PMID: 18962601.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Public stigma in health and non-healthcare students: attributions, emotions and willingness to help with adolescent self-harm. AU - Law,G Urquhart, AU - Rostill-Brookes,H, AU - Goodman,D, Y1 - 2008/10/28/ PY - 2008/04/01/received PY - 2008/08/09/revised PY - 2008/08/29/accepted PY - 2008/10/31/pubmed PY - 2009/8/4/medline PY - 2008/10/31/entrez SP - 107 EP - 18 JF - International journal of nursing studies JO - Int J Nurs Stud VL - 46 IS - 1 N2 - BACKGROUND: For people who self-harm, there is growing evidence to suggest that services and treatment outcomes can be adversely affected by healthcare staffs' stigmatising attitudes and behaviours. To date, the empirical literature has tended to focus on the attitudes of experienced healthcare professionals working with adults who self-harm. Additionally, there has been few theory or model-driven studies to help identify what healthcare students think and feel about young people who self-harm. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present study was to explore the way healthcare and non-healthcare students think and feel about adolescent self-harm behaviour using Corrigan et al.'s [Corrigan, P.W., Markowitz, F.E., Watson, A., Rowan, D., Kubiak, M.A., 2003. An attribution model of public discrimination towards people with mental illness. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 44, 162-179] attribution model of public discrimination towards people with mental illness. DESIGN: The study was a questionnaire-based, cross-sectional, survey that consisted of two hypothetical vignettes. SETTINGS: Two universities in England, United Kingdom. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred and eighty-four final-year students, covering health (medicine, nursing, clinical psychology) and non-health care (physics) professions. METHODS: Students were presented with vignettes describing a young female who self-harms. Attributions of controllability were experimentally manipulated across the vignette conditions and students were asked to complete self-report questionnaires measuring attitudes towards self-harm, familiarity with self-harm and social desirability. RESULTS: Consistent with the public discrimination model, students who believed that a young person was responsible for their self-harm reported higher feelings of anger towards them. Anger, in turn, was associated with a belief in the manipulatory nature of the self-harm and with less willingness to help. Perceived risk was found to be associated with higher levels of anxiety and increased support for the use of coercive and segregatory strategies to manage self-harming behaviour. Gender and student type were important influences on public stigma, with both men and medical students reporting more negative attitudes towards self-harm. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence that a number of factors may adversely affect the care and treatment received by young people who self-harm, namely: students' causal attributions, the gender and profession of healthcare students, and familiarity with self-harm behaviour. To improve the effectiveness of service provision and treatment outcomes for people who self-harm, it is important that health care service providers and teaching institutions consider the implications of these factors when developing staff and services, and base interventions on theoretical models of stigma and discrimination. SN - 1873-491X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/18962601/Public_stigma_in_health_and_non_healthcare_students:_attributions_emotions_and_willingness_to_help_with_adolescent_self_harm_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0020-7489(08)00239-3 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -