alexa Beliefs and Attitudes about Mental Illness among Lay Ch
ISSN: 2378-5756

Journal of Psychiatry
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Research Article

Beliefs and Attitudes about Mental Illness among Lay Church-Based Health Workers and Medical Trainees in Nigeria

Theddeus Iheanacho1*, Elina Stefanovics1, Echezona E Ezeanolue2,3 and Robert Rosenheck1

1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, Connecticut, USA

2Healthy Sunrise Foundation, Nevada, USA

3University of Nevada School of Medicine, Nevada, USA

*Corresponding Author:
Theddeus Iheanacho
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine
300 George St., Suite 901, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
Tel: +14752029380
Fax: 2038769911
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: June 13, 2016; Accepted date: July 23, 2016; Published date: July 30, 2016

Citation: Iheanacho T, Stefanovics E, Ezeanolue EE, Rosenheck R (2016) Beliefs and Attitudes about Mental Illness among Lay Church-Based Health Workers and Medical Trainees in Nigeria. J Psychiatry 19:380. doi:10.4172/2378-5756.1000380

Copyright: © 2016 Iheanacho T, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Increasingly, mental health services in resource-limited settings are being delivered by lay health workers with limited professional training. This study compared beliefs and attitudes about mental illness among church-based lay health workers in Enugu, Nigeria with no psychiatric training (n=59) and medical trainees with different levels of exposure to psychiatric care from two teaching hospitals in Nigeria; University of Ibadan (n=150) and Imo State University (n=83). A 43-item self-report questionnaire was used to assess their beliefs and attitudes. Exploratory factor analysis using varimax rotation identified four distinct constructs. Analysis of Co-Variance (ANCOVA) was used to compare these constructs across the three groups. Factor analysis identified four domains representing F1) social acceptance F2) normalization of social roles F3) non-superstitious causation of mental illness and F4) stress and trauma as causes of mental disorders. Students at the hospital with a more active, psychiatry training program had significantly higher scores than other groups on three of the four factors (F4=0.91 vs 0.72, 0.32; F1=0.60 vs 0.50, 0.53; F3=0.55 vs 0.40, 0.30), while the church-based lay health workers did not differ from students at the medical school providing minimal psychiatric training on two of the four factors (F1=0.53 vs 0.50; F3=0.30 vs 0.40). Availability of psychiatric education and emphasis on mental health services may have a positive impact on the progressiveness of beliefs and attitudes about mental illness.


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