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Changes in attitudes towards mental disorders and psychiatric treatment 1976-2014 in a Swedish population
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
2016 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, ISSN 0803-9488, E-ISSN 1502-4725, Vol. 70, no 1, 38-44 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Background: Mental illness has always been subject to stigma and discrimination. There are a number of studies on public attitudes towards people with mental illness. Long-term studies, however, examining changes over time are scarce. Aims: The aim of this study was to examine potential changes concerning attitudes between 1976 and 2014 in Vilhelmina, a community in northern Sweden. Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent out to a random sample of 500 adults aged 18-70 years. The same questionnaire has previously been used in 1976 and 2003. Results: The attitudes towards people with mental illness have not generally become more positive over the years. In 2014 almost a quarter of the population still think that people with mental illness commit violentX acts more than others. Even more people in 2014 than in 1976 agree to the statement that mental illness harms the reputation more than a physical disease (77.2% versus 52.8%). People with low educational level have more negative views than people with higher education. Younger respondents, < 20 years, had a more positive view than the older age groups. Almost 70% of the respondents would advise someone with psychological problems to seek a psychiatrist but only 23% of the respondents would follow their own advice. Psychotherapy has been and is still highly appreciated. As regards medication the perception is more critical, but there has been a significant change, however, to a more positive attitude towards medication since 1976. Conclusion: Attitudes towards mental illness and mentally ill people have not changed substantially over time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 70, no 1, 38-44 p.
Keyword [en]
Attitudes, Mental disorders, Psychiatric treatment, Stigma, Sweden
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-113834DOI: 10.3109/08039488.2015.1046916ISI: 000365719100006PubMedID: 26051607OAI: diva2:913745
Available from: 2016-03-22 Created: 2016-01-04 Last updated: 2016-03-22Bibliographically approved

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Mirnezami, Helia FaghirJacobsson, Lars
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