Attitudes and sterotypes of supporting fields towards the persons with disabilities

Ana Godan, Lovorka Brajković, Visnja Fortuna, Ljiljana Godan
Collegium Antropologicum 2008, 32 (3): 783-91
The aim of this research was to establish the attitudes, the views and reactions of the helping fields (which include social workers and medical nurses) and those who aren't the part of that cathegory, towards the mentally ill people. One hundred and twenty persons questioned have taken part in this research where in the group of supporting fields consisted of social workers and medical nurses (N = 40). The questionnaire was used in examining the attitudes of those questioned persons, the questionnaire that was used in Jokić-Begić's research (2005) and it turned out to be a really good one in defining the attitudes and stereotypes towards the mentally ill persons. The questionnaire consisted of several parts in which different things have been examined such as stereotypes, knowledge, attitudes, level of acceptance and social- demographic information. The research has shown the differences among the attitudes and the level of acceptance of the mentally ill as well as the level of knowledge which the examinees had. All the examinees that have been the part of this research mentioned "ill" as a dominant trait of the mentally disturbed person. Furthermore, the characteristics such as instability, insecurity, nervousness and inclination to suicide, indicate that all of these three groups of examinees have sterotypes about unstable emotional condition and state of mind of the sick. The examinees that don't belong to this group of supporting fields have enough knowledge neither about the emergence of the disease nor about its development and preventive measures. However, the social workers have a bit more negative attitude towards the mentally ill if compared to medical nurses which could be explained by insufficient working experience with the mentioned group of patients. It's important to say that all of the three groups of examinees don't have extremely negative attitudes towards the people with mental disorder. We shouldn't ignore the fact that these three groups have noticable social restraint towards the mentally ill and they cannot easily accept them in their own environment. Considering the fact there is a low number of researches that deal with this problem of labelling or in other words- stigmatization of the mentally ill, this research gives a great stimulus for writeup this very important problem area, especially if we take into consideration that the attitude of the community may help to bring about the feeling of marginalization and unacceptability with the mentally ill.

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