Attitudes towards mental illness in Turkish and Greek speaking Cypriot communities living in Cyprus

Zorba, Akile Berfu (2019) Attitudes towards mental illness in Turkish and Greek speaking Cypriot communities living in Cyprus. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

The aim of this thesis was to assess and explore attitudes of the Turkish (TC) and Greek (GC) speaking Cypriot communities towards mental illness. The attitudinal similarities and differences of the two communities were also investigated along with the factors that contribute to these. Despite the negative consequences of stigma noted in previous literature, this is the first collective study to be carried out with these communities.

A mixed method sequential explanatory design was used. A total 519 participants was recruited from the two communities via convenience sampling. Twenty-one of these participants were then interviewed using a one-to one, semi-structured interview technique during the qualitative phase of the thesis. Interviews were analyzed using the Interpretative Phenomenological Approach.

Findings showed a significant relationship between familiarity factor, culture factor and attitudes. Differences between TC and GC participants in terms of these factors were also found. TCs reported significantly less favorable attitudes towards mental illness compared to GCs. They were also found to be more collective in their culture, and reported significantly less one-to-one contact with mental illness compared to GCs.

Four dimensions of stigma were also extracted using a Principal Component Analysis on the AQ-27 scale; Threat, Hospitalisation, Pity and Perceived-Control. Results of the three-step hierarchal model, which was created in line with previous research, showed culture and familiarity as the strong explanatory factors of these four dimensions. While collectivism was found to be a positive predictor of these dimensions individualism and familiarity factors were found to be the negative predictors of them. From the demographic factors investigated ‘Sex; and ‘Age’ were also found to be significantly predicting the ‘Threat’ and Hospitalisation’ dimensions of stigma respectively. While being a woman positively predicted the Threat dimension, being older positively predicted Hospitalisation dimension of stigma. Knowledge factor was, however, not found to be one of the explanatory factors of the stigma dimensions in this research.

Illuminated in the themes; 1) Community Tightness, 2) Current Cultural Values, 3) Culture and Mental Illness Stigma, 4) Structural Factors and Mental Illness Stigma, 5) Strategies to Tackle Mental Illness Stigma, the IPA analysis of the interview data revealed that the communities’ cultural orientations were related to their perceptions, understanding and explanations of mental illness. In line with the quantitative study’s findings participants also revealed that the structural factors; familiarity with mental illness, policy and regulations around these issues were effective in their understanding of and perceptions about mental illness consequently attitudes towards those with mental health problems.

The results of the qualitative and quantitative studies are further discussed throughout the thesis and a number of important recommendations are given in a hope to diminish stigma of mental illness in TC and GC communities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
B. > Theses
Item ID: 27964
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 11:05
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2019 11:05
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/27964

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