Psychiatr. Pol. 2017; 51(1): 29–44

DOI: https://doi.org/10.12740/PP/62400

Artur Kochański, Andrzej Cechnicki

Postawy polskich psychiatrów wobec osób chorujących psychicznie

The attitudes of Polish psychiatrists toward people suffering from mental illnesses

Stigmatizing convictions, emotions and behaviors toward the mentally ill have impact on the social distance and more acute course of the illness. Research shows that the sufferers are the object of stigmatization also by representatives of medical professionals, including psychiatrists.
Aim. The aim of the study was to examine the opinions of Polish psychiatrists regarding the mentally ill and to compare them with similar studies in the general population.
Material and method. Polish psychiatrists were the investigated group. A diagnostic survey was conducted with a self-completion questionnaire. 232 questionnaires were analyzed.
Results. The results were compared with the general population. 61.5% of the respondents (59% in the general population) believe that a person who is mentally ill has a chance of recovery and 79% (vs. 77%) that coercion in Polish psychiatry is used frequently enough. 95% (vs. 75%) consider mental illness a health problem which is concealed from the others. 43% (vs. 56%) believe that mental illness significantly reduces the ability of regular employment, 13.5% (vs. 30%) believe that it reduces the ability to work in a team and 33% (vs. 71%) that it reduces the ability to do work which requires a lot of self-reliance. 16% (vs. 22%) is opposed to having institutions for the mentally ill near their place of residence. Psychiatrists more often declared a close friendship with people suffering from mental illness (87.5% vs. 32%), and a positive attitude toward the mentally ill and their participation in social life (86.5% vs. 65%).
Conclusions. 1. A relatively large group of the investigated psychiatrists compared with the general population has a family member suffering from a mental illness or they themselves suffer from mental illness. 2. Despite their education and professional mission, Polish psychiatrists present similarly stigmatizing attitudes toward the mentally ill as does the general population. 3. Through their attitudes, Polish psychiatrists co-create a support system, but also participate in the process of stigmatization.

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