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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Swedish attitudes towards persons with mental illness

Torbjörn Högberg, Annabella Magnusson, Kim Lützén, Béatrice Ewalds-Kvist
Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 2012, 66 (2): 86-96
21958390

BACKGROUND: Negative and stigmatizing attitudes towards persons with mental illness must be dealt with to facilitate the sufferers' social acceptance.

AIM: The present study aimed at survey Swedish attitudes towards persons with mental illness related to factors impacting these attitudes.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: New CAMI-S based on the questionnaire "Community Attitudes to Mental Illness in Sweden" ([CAMI] Taylor & Dear, 1981) was developed with nine behavioral-intention items and thus comprised a total of 29 items. Of 5000 Swedish people, 2391 agreed to complete the questionnaire. Principal component analysis rendered four factors reflecting attitudes towards the mentally ill: Intention to Interact, Fearful and Avoidant, Open-minded and Pro-Integration, as well as Community Mental Health Ideology. The factors were analyzed for trends in attitudes. By MANOVA, the experience of mental illness effects on mind-set towards the sufferers was assessed. By means of logistic regression, demographic factors contributing to positive attitudes towards persons with mental illness residing in the neighborhood were assessed.

RESULTS: By New CAMI-S, the Swedish attitudes towards the mentally ill were surveyed and trends in agreement with living next to a person with mental illness were revealed in three out of four factors derived by principal component analysis. Aspects impacting the Swedish attitudes towards persons with mental illness and willingness to have him/her residing in the neighborhood comprised experience of mental illness, female gender, age (31-50 years), born in Scandinavia or outside Europe, only 9 years of compulsory school and accommodation in flat.

CONCLUSION: The New CAMI-S came out as a useful tool to screen Swedish attitudes towards persons with mental illness. Most Swedes were prepared to live next to the mentally ill.

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