Mental health professionals' attitudes towards mental illness: professional and cultural factors in the INTER NOS study

Francisco Del Olmo-Romero, Maria Gonzalez-Blanco, Salvador Sarro, Jaime Gracio, Manuel Martin-Carrasco, Ana C. Martinez-Cabezon, Giampaolo Perna, Edith Pomarol-Clotet, Pedro Varandas, Javier Ballesteros-Rodriguez, Carlos Rebolleda-Gil, Giovanna Vanni, Eduardo Gonzalez-Fraile*, Ana Moreno-Alcazar, Isabel Feria, Pedro P. Padilla, Jose A. Larraz, Josep Treserra, Ana C. Perez, Pedro RoyAna Morais, Carla Costa, Cecilia Vilas-Boas, Mariana Correia, Nuno Nunes, Rosa Simoes, Paula Carneiro, Adolfo Lander, Javier Remirez, Javier Arellano, Carlos Pajares, Antonio Rodriguez, Raul Huerta, Maria Janez, David Porta, Alessandro Valchera, Paolo Carbonetti, INTER NOS group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Research shows that personnel working in mental health facilities may share some of the societal prejudices towards mental illness. This might result in stigmatizing behaviours towards people suffering from mental disorders, undermining the quality of their care.

Aims To describe and compare attitudes towards mental illness across a sample of professionals working in a wide range of mental health facilities in Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Method We administered a survey to personnel including two questionnaires related to stigmatizing attitudes: The Community Attitudes toward the Mentally Ill (CAMI) and the Attribution Questionnaire (AQ-27). Data were compared according to professional category, work setting and country.

Results 34.06% (1525) professionals of the surveyed population responded adequately. Psychologists and social therapists had the most positive attitudes, and nursing assistants the most negative, on most factors of CAMI and AQ-27. Community staff had more positive attitudes than hospital-based professionals in most factors on CAMI and in discriminatory responses on AQ-27.

Conclusions Globally, mental health professionals showed a positive attitude towards mental illness, but also a relative support to coercive treatments. There are differences in attitudes modulated by professional category and setting. Results can guide preventive strategies, particularly for the hospital-based and nursing staff.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-339
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Mental illness
  • Stigma
  • Mental health professionals
  • Social distance
  • Health personnel attitude
  • CARE
  • ILL

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