Perceived characteristics of psychiatric nurses: stigma by association

Margaret J Halter
Archives of Psychiatric Nursing 2008, 22 (1): 20-6
The focus of this study was the concept of stigma by association, or the negative characteristics attributed to individuals (usually family members) who are in close contact with people who are stigmatized. Psychiatric nurses may likewise be affected by this stigma. Responses from 122 nurses indicated that psychiatric nursing is the least preferred specialty of 10 areas. Psychiatric nurses were least likely to be described as skilled, logical, dynamic, and respected. The findings suggest that psychiatric nursing may be stigmatized by association. Implications, especially in terms of the role of health care professionals in perpetuating stigma, are explored.

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