Exploring Stigmatizing Attitudes Among Community Mental Health Clinicians Working with Clients Who Have a Dual Diagnosis

Michelle Francis, Victoria Manning, Ali Cheetham

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Illicit drug use, alcohol use and mental health problems frequently co-occur and are some of the most stigmatised health conditions. This can include stigma from those providing care, although stigmatization by mental health professionals towards dual-diagnosis clients is poorly understood. This study aimed to examine whether clinicians in community managed mental health organisations hold attitudes and beliefs that could be considered stigmatising towards clients with a dual diagnosis (ddx). Using an online survey, mental health clinicians (n = 32) were presented with three vignettes depicting a person with (1) schizophrenia, (2) schizophrenia and alcohol dependence and (3) schizophrenia and methamphetamine use, and two scales measuring stigmatising attitudes. Scores across the vignettes were compared to assess attitudes towards dual diagnosis compared to mental illness. Mental health clinicians' responses suggested greater stigma and a desire for greater social distance towards the methamphetamine case (but not the alcohol case) relative to the schizophrenia alone case. Rates of belief in full recovery were relatively low for all vignettes. It is recommended that training to address negative atttiudes and beliefs towards illicit drug users is implemented in mental health settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1437-1445
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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