Challenging discrimination: teenagers' attitudes to mental health problems and their experience of a psychosocial educational intervention

Prof Doc Thesis

Sholl, Catherine 2008. Challenging discrimination: teenagers' attitudes to mental health problems and their experience of a psychosocial educational intervention. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsSholl, Catherine
TypeProf Doc Thesis

People with mental health problems experience discrimination across
numerous areas of life. Research has indicated that teenagers have
particularly negative attitudes towards mental health problems and find it
difficult to seek help. Mental health professionals and service users are now
emphasising the need for evidence-based educational campaigns in schools
challenging mental health discrimination. However, there is currently little
evidence about young people's understanding of mental health problems and
how they experience such interventions.
A psychosocial educational intervention was facilitated by the researcher and
a mental health service user with a group of 25 young people in a school. The
group's ideas and views about mental health problems and the intervention
were explored through focus groups before and after the intervention and
analysed using Grounded Theory. In addition, negative attitudes and causal
beliefs about mental health problems were measured quantitatively before
and after intervention and analysed statistically.
Quantitative measures indicated that the Intervention Group showed a greater
decrease in mean negative attitude score compared to the Control Group,
though this did not reach statistical significance. Biological causal beliefs scores decreased significantly for both the Intervention and Control Group. In
addition, gender had a significant effect on change in causal beliefs, with
female participants showing a greater decrease in biological (and increase in
psychosocial) causal beliefs compared to males.
The qualitative analysis yielded two grounded theories: 1) about teenagers'
understanding of mental health problems; and 2) a model of factors and
processes important in facilitating change in teenagers' attitudes and
understandings about mental health problems.
The results had implications for guiding future anti-discrimination campaigns
and emphasising the importance and value of such interventions with young
people in schools. The role of clinical psychology in working at a community
level alongside service users to increase understanding and reduce
discrimination was emphasised.

Publication dates
PrintJan 2008
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Jun 2014
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