The public attitudes towards the patients with depression in a rural area: social distance and related factors
Taskin, O.E. (2006) The public attitudes towards the patients with depression in a rural area: social distance and related factors. Psychiatry in Turkiye, 8 (1). pp. 11-17.
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Objective: Public attitudes toward depression may play a role in the patient’s recognition of his/her illness and may have an influence on help seeking behaviors, the way of getting in contact with the psychiatrist, and treatment adherence. For this reason, it is important to determine the level of knowledge and attitudes of lay people about depression. This study was performed to determine the public’s attitudes and their correlates towards patients with depression in a rural area in Turkey. Methods: This study was carried out in Manisa at a village. Of the 245 subjects which met the inclusion criterias, 230 subjects were reached and 208 of them constituted the sample of this study. The subjects were applied the 10-items of sociodemographic information form and the 32-items of the subscale for depression of a public survey form which was developed by Psychiatric Researchs and Education Center. Results: Three fourths of the participants reported that they wouldn’t get married to a person with depression, and more than half of subjects stated that they would feel uncomfortable to have a neighbour with depression, and that they wouldn’t rent their house to a patient with depression and stated that the patients with depression are aggressive. The married subjects answered the item “I can work with a person with depression” as “I agree” more than the unmarried subjects. Also, 70.2% of the participants denoted that depression is a mental illness and participants stating depressive patients are aggressive were mostly from this group. 86.5% of the subjects believed that social problems lead to depression. Conclusions: Recognition of depression and the level of knowledge about this disorder in a rural area in Turkey though inadequate, are not different from the urban areas. The public’s attitudes towards depressive patients in rural areas are generally more negative. The community wants to keep away from the patients with depression and is more influenced from stigmatization and labeling. An approach to increase the tolerance, to neutralize the concept of “mental illness”, and to diminish the humiliating impact of labeling by informing the community about depression is needed in rural areas.
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