The purpose of the study was to describe mental disorder stigmatising attitudes held by nurses, in a selected district hospital in Rwanda, and to analyse the potential mediating effects of person variables, specifically familiarity, on these stigmatising attitudes.
A quantitative, non-experimental, descriptive research design was used. A self-report questionnaire included person and two scales;Level of Contact Scale (LOC) and Community Attitudes towards Mental Illness - Swedish version (CAMI-S). A sample of 104 (n=102) was achieved and thical approval was obtained. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 21 wherebyNon parametric tests were used, Mann–Whitney U Test, Kruskal-Willis H Test and Spearman’s rho correlation coefficient test and significance was determined by Cohen’s guide lines (Pallant, 2013).
Participants reported negative stereotypes, in all items on the CAMI-S, related to persons with a mental disorder. Statistical results indicated associations between negative stereotypes and; the younger age group and the less experienced participants are reported as statistically significant. Also, a negative correlation is reported between familiarity and stigmatizing attitudes.
Conclusion and recommendation
Results suggest that familiarity has a positive mediating effect on negative stereotypes. To address the issue of stigma, curriculum for undergraduate nursing education should be reviewed to include mental health nursing and clinical practice within psychiatric health facilities. Also, the School of nursing and Midwifery should organize workshops, seminars, conferences and discussionswhich could include MHCUs to provide testimonies, which will in turn increase the level of contact amongst students and their lecturers.