Measuring attitudes towards people with mental illness and people who are homeless: Is a joint instrument needed?

Adriana Foster, Sarah Hilton, Faneece Embry, Charity Pires, Anthony O. Ahmed

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the co-occurrence of homelessness and mental illness, studies of provider attitudes towards people in these groups have examined these ideas separately. An examination of the instruments used to measure attitudes toward persons with mental illness and those who are homeless shows similarities between the domains of these measures. We examined the possible overlap of these attitudes, which may contribute to further stigma toward mental illness, increased social distance and substandard care. We used canonical correlational analysis to examine the association between mental illness and homelessness stigmatizing attitudes in a sample of medical students (N = 62) who completed an anonymous questionnaire. Attitudes towards people with mental illness overlapped strongly with attitudes towards the people who are homeless with one significant canonical variate pair. Redundancy analyses showed that mental illness stigma explained 17.9% of the variance in attitudes towards people who are homeless, whereas attitudes towards people who are homeless explained 18.1% of the variance in mental illness stigma. Results from this study indicated that medical student attitudes about people with mental illness predicted or overlapped with their attitudes towards the people who are homeless. Both attitudes may emanate from common causal psychological processes that are yet to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHomelessness: Prevalence, Impact of Social Factors and Mental Health Challenges
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Pages223-250
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781633216587, 9781633216297
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014

Keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Homelessness
  • Mental illness
  • Overlap
  • Psychiatry
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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