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Salud & Sociedad: investigaciones en psicologia de la salud y psicologia social

On-line version ISSN 0718-7475


POLANCO-FRONTERA, Norka et al. Stigma towards mental health problems among healthcare professionals in Puerto Rico. Salud & Sociedad [online]. 2013, vol.4, n.3, pp. 250-263. ISSN 0718-7475.

Stigmatization of people who live with mental health problems has been identified as a barrier in the seeking of, adherence to, and outcomes of, treatment. Scientific literature has documented how health professionals hold stigmatizing attitudes towards this population, but few studies in Puerto Rico have documented this issue. The three-fold objective of this study is to (1) explore levels of stigmatization of people with mental health problems in a sample of health professionals in training , (2) explore differences among disciplines (psychology, social work and medicine) and (3) discover whether or not there are significant differences according to gender. The Mental Health Stigma Scale (MHSS) was administered to 146 professionals in training. A MANOVA analysis revealed that medical students obtained the highest mean scores in the scale (27.8). Scores on the Wilks' Lambda of .016 were significant, F (2, 144) = 9.328, p <.05, suggesting that mean scores vary according to the profession. The score for the medical professionals in training was significantly higher and with a larger effect size in comparison to clinical psychologists in training. It was moderate in comparison to social workers in training. Nevertheless, the analysis revealed that the relation between gender and the general scale (MHSS) was not significant. Wilk's Lambda (Wilk's Λ) = .940 F (2, 138) = 2.938, p > .05. However, significant differences were found between gender and the social distance subscale. ) F (2, 138) = 6.860, p < .05 eta partial, = .047. These findings document the need to develop within professional training interventions against the stigmatization of those suffering mental health problems

Keywords : Stigma; Mental Health; Health Professionals; Puerto Rico.

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