Psychology students attitudes towards mental illness in relation to stress, coping styles, optimism and mental well-being

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Boyle, Sarah
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BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The research literature concerning psychologists attitudes towards mental illness, are fuelled by conflicting results. According to Nordt, rossier and lauber (2006) mental health professionals are found to have an increased stigma toward mental patients. However, The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ anti-stigma campaign, Changing Minds: Every Family in the Land; reported the attitudes of psychiatrists towards people with mental illness, especially schizophrenia, are generally positive compared with those of the general population. This study provided a review of the relationships between attitudes towards Mental Illness and that of gender, stress, coping styles, optimism and general health among psychology students (n=68) and general population (n=83). No significant differences were observed for male and female participants or between the two groups in relation to their attitudes towards the mentally ill. No significant results were found in relation to over mental well-being between the two groups however a correlation was examined between some of the factors in relation to psychological distress. Findings and limitations of this research are discussed with suggestions for future research. Author keywords: mental illness, stress, coping, optimism, general health, mental well being