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Attitudes of College Students Toward Mental Illness Stigma

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Mental illness stigma remains a significant barrier to treatment in our society. Individuals who suffer from mental illness have been stigmatized throughout history. Though destigmatization efforts began early in the 18th century, the view that mental illness is a character problem has persisted. Stigma and mental illness Stigma is something judged by others as a sign of disgrace and something that sets a person apart from others. When something like mental illness, disability or addiction, is stigmatised, the issue will often be avoided due to making people feel uncomfortable.

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People may even mock these things to make them less threatening. For those living with mental illness, the stigma imposed upon them in society can lead to a lack of funding for services and public education, difficulty in finding employment, etc. Ultimately, the silence and lack of understanding about mental illness encourages feelings of shame, and discourages people to seek treatment or even to admit that symptoms they may be experiencing may be related to a mental illness.

Why mental illness? How is it that mental illness remains one of the few subjects that can be so easily dismissed by society, or worse, openly mocked?

This is largely due to cultural beliefs about mental illness. Images and derogatory language in the media maintain beliefs about mental illness being incurable madness. Due to this lack of knowledge and the influence of stereotypes in media, the general public tend to view the mentally ill as unpredictable, responsible for their bizarre beliefs and behaviour, incapable of rational thought, and probably dangerous. When these beliefs filter through society at many levels it is no surprise that the mentally ill often find themselves socially excluded and isolated.

Additionally, recent studies have shown that stigmatizing attitudes towards people with mental illness are widespread (Byrene, 1997; Link et al. , 1997; Jorm et al. , 1999) and are commonly held (Porter, 1998). People tend to react in a very discriminating way towards mentally ill patients almost in every section of society (Farina, 1998). People with severe mental illness are never viewed more favorably than someone with any other defaming disadvantages (e. g. , blindness, cancer, dwarfism, leprosy, etc. ).

Neki (1966) also shared the same finding in his study that was carried out as a research project at Amritsar, which was funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). On the basis of a survey, he drew the conclusion that a sizable section of population fears and tends to strangely reject the mentally ill patients. Moreover, lack of scientific knowledge about mental illness further encourages this kind of behavior (Wolff et al. , 1996). On the other hand, cross-sectional studies have shown that members of the general public who have more knowledge about mental illness are less likely to endorse stigmatizing attitudes (Link et al. 1997).

Perception about mental illness among college students Every section of society has its unique way of perception about mental illness, particularly the young generation and college-going students. College has remained the best place to develop a comprehensive mental health program, because the attitude and values of college-going students influence the society most. Research has convincingly shown that people who have experienced psychiatric problems are feared, disliked and broadly rejected by society, and in the aggregate it makes the presence of stigmatization plain.

Approximately 75% of all mental disorders emerge prior to the age of 24, American College Health Association National College Health Assessment demonstrated that 17. 5% of college students had experienced depression and 12. 7% had experienced an anxiety disorder. Problems with depression and/or anxiety were rated as the fifth most prevalent academic impediment, and 7. 5% of students reported that symptoms of ADHD impacted their academic performance. In addition, results of a 2007 study demonstrated that 30% of college students believed they needed mental health services, and almost half believed that medication was helpful for depression.

RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY Indian studies indicate that the public, including the educated urban groups, is largely misinformed about the various aspects mental health, and information possessed by them remains uncrystallized. The mentally ill are perceived as aggressive, violent and dangerous and not fit for coexistence in society. A tendency to maintain social distance from mentally ill and to reject them socially still persists and makes its existence felt.

Studies addressing this issue have pointed out that a great deal of misconceptions, superstitions and ignorance with regard to mental illness exists in our society, which makes the picture more distorted. Taking in view the student community who’s ideology holds importance for the future foundation of the society, the current study will make attempt to study attitude of college students towards mental illness stigma. METHODOLGY:- AIM:- To study the attitude of college students towards mental illness stigma. OBJECTIVE:- 1. To study the demographic factors such as age, locale and socio economic status among boys and girls in the degree college. . To study mental illness stigma among boys and girls in the degree college. 3. To study mental illness among boys and girls of different stream of education in the degree college. SAMPLE:- The present study will be conducted on a sample of 200 students comprising of 100 boys and 100 girls in the age group of 17-20 years undergoing college education in different streams. Random sampling technique will be adopted to select the sample from different colleges of Jammu province. VENUE:- Degree colleges of Jammu province. TOOLS AND DESCRIPTION:- Socio-demographic data sheet- specially designed for the present study.

It will be applied to elicit socio-demographic details of the subjects. Opinion about mental illness scale (Cohen and Struening, 1962). It will be applied to elicit opinion of the students about mental illness. It contains 51 items that measure attitude towards, and causes and treatment of, mental illness. There are 5 factors: (A) authoritarianism, (B) benevolence, (C) mental hygiene, (D) Social restrictiveness and (E) interpersonal etiology. Individual responses to each item had 6 alternatives, viz. , strongly agree, agree, not sure but probably agree, not sure but probably disagree, disagree, and strongly disagree.

Each factor or dimension in the test will be defined by particular group of items. Responses to these items will be rated from 1 (strongly agree) to 6 (strongly disagree) regardless of the direction (positive or negative) of the items. In computing the factor score, each item will receive the appropriate no. according to the respondents’ position in agree-disagree continuum. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS The data collected will be subjected to statistical analysis by using Mean, S. D, Z test (Critical Ratio for large sample), and Pearson Product Moment Correlation will be used in order to facilitate analysis and interpretation. LIMITATION Limited sample (100 boys and 100 girls) will be used which restrict generalization of the study to the population.

•Moreover effects of other parameters like causal attribution towards mental illness and parent’s and teachers perception regarding mental illness will not be evaluated. • Data collected were exclusively self-report and students may not have been completely honest in their responding. FUTURE DIRECTION :- The same study can be replicated with a larger sample size and by including larger geographical areas. Community education program may be planned as a measure to destigmatize mental illness from community.

Cite this Attitudes of College Students Toward Mental Illness Stigma

Attitudes of College Students Toward Mental Illness Stigma. (2016, Oct 23). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/attitudes-of-college-students-toward-mental-illness-stigma/

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