Nursing attitudes towards acute mental health care: Development of a measurement tool

John Baker, John A. Baker, David A. Richards, Malcolm Campbell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Aim. This paper reports the development, piloting and validation of a tool to measure attitudes for use with nursing staff working in acute mental health care units. Background. The quality of care provided for service users in acute mental health care has come under both scrutiny and severe criticism. The attitudes of staff working in these environments have been cited as a contributory factor in poor care. No measure of attitudes specific to acute mental health has been reported. Methods. A 64-question measure was constructed and distributed to a sample of qualified and unqualified nurses drawn from seven mental health care units in the North of England. Exploratory factor analysis and a number of other statistical tests were performed to validate the questionnaire. Results. Preliminary analysis reduced the original 64 questions to 37. Five components were retained, accounting for 42% of the variance, and the five rotated factors were identified. The resultant 'Attitudes Towards Acute Mental Health Scale' (ATAMHS) achieved good internal reliability, with a Cronbach's alpha of 0.72. Conclusion. The construction and validation of the ATAMHS measure will enable improved understanding of the attitudes of nursing staff working in acute mental health care settings to occur. This measure is available for use in a clinical area of nursing in which attitude change is of fundamental importance for future development of care. © 2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)522-529
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


    • Acute mental health care
    • Attitudes
    • Measurement tools
    • Nursing
    • Validation


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