Gateshill, Georgina, Kucharska-Pietura, Kate and Wattis, John (2011) Attitudes towards mental disorders and emotional empathy in mental health and other healthcare professionals. The Psychiatrist, 35 (3). pp. 101-105. ISSN 1758-3217

Aims and method To compare attitudes towards mental disorders in professionals
working in mental health and professionals working in different areas of medicine.
Levels of emotional empathy in both groups were also investigated. In total, 58 mental
healthcare professionals and 60 non-mental healthcare professionals completed our
attitudes towards mental disorders questionnaire and Balanced Emotional Empathy
Results The results reveal generally positive attitudes towards people with mental
disorders in both groups. Non-mental healthcare professionals regarded people with a
mental disorder as significantly more dangerous and unpredictable than did mental
healthcare professionals. There was no statistically significant difference in emotional
empathy between the two groups. Both groups cited illicit drug use as one of the most
significant causes of mental disorder.
Clinical implications Mental healthcare professionals and non-mental healthcare
professionals show broadly similar attitudes and a similar degree of empathy towards
people with a mental disorder. However, non-mental healthcare professionals regard
people with mental health problems as significantly more dangerous and
unpredictable. There is scope for further research including examining the effects of
educational interventions.
Declaration of interest None.


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