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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 41  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 141-146

Beliefs and attitude toward mental illness among a sample of university students in Egypt


Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine for Girls, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
MD Shaimaa M Arafa
Alahram Garden, Giza, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine for Girls, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, 12556
Egypt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ejpsy.ejpsy_14_20

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Background People’s attitude and beliefs about mental illness set the scene for how they help, interact with, and provide opportunities for a person with mental illness. Objective This study aimed to assess the beliefs and attitudes toward mental illness and psychiatric patients in the scientific and theoretical faculties among a sample of undergraduate students in Al-Azhar University, Egypt and to determine if there are any differences regarding the type of faculty or academic degree. Participants and methods A descriptive design was adopted for this study. Data collection took place from January to May 2019 via the beliefs scale for mental illness. A total of 1200 undergraduates were recruited from different faculties: 592 students from scientific faculties such as ‘medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, science, and commerce’; and 608 from theoretical faculties such as ‘Islamic, Arabic, and Humanistics.’ Results Undergraduate students in Al-Azhar University for Girls showed positive attitudes toward mental illness regardless of their academic degrees, the type of faculty, or their residence. However, the scientific faculties showed a more positive attitude than theoretical faculties, also a direct positive relation was found regarding the academic degree. Negative attitude was found in students with a psychiatric history of mental illness and in those with a positive family history of mental illness. Conclusion Scientific faculties and advanced academic degree hold more positive beliefs and attitude toward mentally ill patients. There is possibility for additional research including studying the effects of educational interventions.


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