Mental health workers' attitudes toward mental illness in Fiji

Kim Foster, Kim Usher, John A. Baker, Sainimere Gadal, Samsun Ali

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective: To survey mental health workers' attitudes toward mental illness in Fiji as a means of understanding the attitudes of these staff. Design: A questionnaire survey using a previously validated scale: Attitudes Toward Acute Mental Health Scale (ATAMHS 33), was modified and distributed to registered nurses and mental health workers at a major mental health care setting in Fiji. The ATAMH (33) is a 33 item measure of attitudes developed specifically for use within inpatient mental health settings. Setting: A major in-patient mental health care setting in Fiji providing primary, secondary and tertiary care. Subjects: 71 registered nurses and medical orderlies in a mental health setting in Fiji completed the measure. Main outcome measure: The identification of mental health workers' attitudes toward mental illness in Fiji. Results: The participants expressed both positive and negative attitudes toward individuals in mental health care. Positive attitudes can be identified in a range of answers to questions including psychosocial causational beliefs and when comparisons were made with physical health issues. Negative attitudes were expressed with respect to alcohol abuse and lack of self control, individuals with mental illness lacking control over their emotions, psychotropic medications being used to control disruptive behaviour, and that mental illness is caused by genetic factors. A number of questions provided mixed responses. Conclusions: This paper provides a baseline of attitudinal measure of mental health workers in Fiji toward mental illness. It will enable future educational interventions to be evaluated and comparison to be made with other cultures and countries in the South Pacific region.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)72-79
    Number of pages7
    JournalThe Australian journal of advanced nursing : a quarterly publication of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • Atitudes
    • Fiji
    • Mental health
    • Mental health workers
    • Mental illness


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