Negative attitudes towards people with co-morbid mental health and substance misuse problems: An investigation of mental health professionals

Foster, John and Richmond, Iain C. (2003) Negative attitudes towards people with co-morbid mental health and substance misuse problems: An investigation of mental health professionals. Journal of Mental Health, 12 (4). pp. 393-403. ISSN 0963-8237

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Abstract

Background: Mental health professionals have been shown to have negative attitudes towards substance misuse. This impacts on the quality of care provided to mentally ill substance-using service users. Aims: To investigate mental health professionals' attitudes to substance misusers. Associations between attitude and demographic factors, such as age, experience, professional status, additional training, educational level and own substance use were also investigated. Method: The Substance Abuse Attitude Survey (SAAS) was completed by a convenience sample of mental health professionals from an outer London Borough. The SAAS measures five factors; non-stereotyping, permissiveness, non-moralism, treatment optimism and treatment intervention. Results: Fifty-six (54%) of the 103 sampled professionals returned usable questionnaires. Participants who were educated to a postgraduate level were less moralistic in their approach and had greater treatment optimism. Participants who were qualified social workers had greater permissiveness scores than nurses. Personal use of tobacco, cannabis and illicit drug use was associated with greater treatment intervention scores. Age, gender, level of experience in mental health or substance misuse, and number of substance misuse training days were not associated with any SAAS subscores. Conclusion: The results indicate that there are elements of postgraduate courses that contribute to less moralistic attitudes and a higher level of treatment optimism when working with substance misusers. Further research needs to ascertain what elements of post-graduate education contribute towards constructive attitudes in relation to working with substance misusers. Declaration of interest: Neither author has any conflicting interests to declare whilst conducting and writing up this research.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Health and Education > Health & Education
ID Code:136
Deposited On:22 Oct 2008 14:26
Last Modified:01 Apr 2014 07:14

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