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Knowledge and Attitude about Mental Illness of Students in a University in Southern Nigeria

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DOI: 10.4236/jbm.2018.66007    505 Downloads   1,176 Views


Objective: To ascertain the knowledge about mental illness and attitude of undergraduate students in a university in southern Nigeria, towards the mentally ill. Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted at a Catholic University in Nigeria over a three-month period. 215 subjects were selected randomly from the total student population of 5045. A questionnaire containing socio-demographic variables and three subscales: The Knowledge about mental illness scale, Attitude to mental illness scale, Social Distance scale was administered to each subject. The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16.0. Results: Males (62.3%), Christians (91.2%), Igbos (49.5%) and Single (93.0%) constituted the largest proportions of the subjects. A majority of the subjects supported some of the common inaccurate stereotypes about mental illness. They exhibited obvious gap in knowledge with respect to symptoms of specific mental disorder. 42.8% were not sure of the biological cause of mental illness. Even though 80% of the subjects agreed that those suffering from mental illness should be helped, 48.8% maintained that they have little in common with them. Only 33% were willing to make friends with someone with a mental illness. Conclusion: Better ways of educating the youths to dissolve deeply entrenched negative cognitions about mental illness should be given premium attention by all stakeholders, especially in Africa.

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Chukwujekwu, C. (2018) Knowledge and Attitude about Mental Illness of Students in a University in Southern Nigeria. Journal of Biosciences and Medicines, 6, 95-104. doi: 10.4236/jbm.2018.66007.

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