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(1/702) Experiences of hospital care and treatment seeking for pain from sickle cell disease: qualitative study.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate how sociocultural factors influence management of pain from sickle cell disease by comparing the experiences of those who usually manage their pain at home with those who are more frequently admitted to hospital for management of their pain. DESIGN: Qualitative analysis of semistructured individual interviews and focus group discussions. PARTICIPANTS: 57 participants with genotype SS or S/beta-thal (44 subjects) or SC (9) (4 were unknown). 40 participants took part in focus groups, six took part in both focus groups and interviews, and nine were interviewed only. Participants were allocated to focus groups according to number of hospital admissions for painful crisis management during the previous year, ethnic origin, and sex. RESULTS: The relation between patients with sickle cell disease and hospital services is one of several major non-clinical dimensions shaping experiences of pain management and behaviour for seeking health care. Experiences of hospital care show a range of interrelated themes, which are common to most participants across variables of sex, ethnicity, and hospital attended: mistrust of patients with sickle cell disease; stigmatisation; excessive control (including both over- and undertreatment of pain); and neglect. Individuals respond to the challenge of negotiating care with various strategies. Patients with sickle cell disease who are frequently admitted to hospital may try to develop long term relationships with their carers, may become passive or aggressive in their interactions with health professionals, or may regularly attend different hospitals. Those individuals who usually manage their pain at home express a strong sense of self responsibility for their management of pain and advocate self education, assertiveness, and resistance as strategies towards hospital services. CONCLUSIONS: The current organisation and delivery of management of pain for sickle cell crisis discourage self reliance and encourage hospital dependence. Models of care should recognise the chronic nature of sickle cell disorders and prioritise patients' involvement in their care.  (+info)

(2/702) Public conceptions of mental illness: labels, causes, dangerousness, and social distance.

OBJECTIVES: The authors used nationwide survey data to characterize current public conceptions related to recognition of mental illness and perceived causes, dangerousness, and desired social distance. METHODS: Data were derived from a vignette experiment included in the 1996 General Social Survey. Respondents (n = 1444) were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 vignette conditions. Four vignettes described psychiatric disorders meeting diagnostic criteria, and the fifth depicted a "troubled person" with subclinical problems and worries. RESULTS: Results indicate that the majority of the public identifies schizophrenia (88%) and major depression (69%) as mental illnesses and that most report multicausal explanations combining stressful circumstances with biologic and genetic factors. Results also show, however, that smaller proportions associate alcohol (49%) or drug (44%) abuse with mental illness and that symptoms of mental illness remain strongly connected with public fears about potential violence and with a desire for limited social interaction. CONCLUSIONS: While there is reason for optimism in the public's recognition of mental illness and causal attributions, a strong stereotype of dangerousness and desire for social distance persist. These latter conceptions are likely to negatively affect people with mental illness.  (+info)

(3/702) The public's view of the competence, dangerousness, and need for legal coercion of persons with mental health problems.

OBJECTIVES: The authors examined Americans' opinions about financial and treatment competence of people with mental health problems, potential for harm to self or others, and the use of legal means to force treatment. METHODS: The 1996 General Social Survey provided interview data with a nationally representative sample (n = 1444). Respondents were given a vignette based on diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia, major depression, alcohol dependence, or drug dependence, or a "control" case. RESULTS: The specific nature of the problem was the most important factor shaping public reaction. Respondents viewed those with "troubles," alcohol dependence, or depression as able to make treatment decisions. Most reported that persons with alcohol or drug problems or schizophrenia cannot manage money and are likely to be violent toward others. Respondents indicated a willingness to coerce individuals into treatment. Respondent and other case characteristics rarely affected opinions. CONCLUSIONS: Americans report greater concern with individuals who have drug or alcohol problems than with persons who have other mental health problems. Evaluations of dangerousness and coercion indicate a continuing need for public education.  (+info)

(4/702) Dispelling the stigma of schizophrenia: II. The impact of information on dangerousness.

This study addressed a relatively neglected topic in schizophrenia: identifying methods to reduce stigma directed toward individuals with this disorder. The study investigated whether presentation of information describing the association between violent behavior and schizophrenia could affect subjects' impressions of the dangerousness of both a target person with schizophrenia and individuals with mental illness in general. Subjects with and without previous contact with individuals with a mental illness were administered one of four "information sheets" with varying information about schizophrenia and its association with violent behavior. Subjects then read a brief vignette of a male or female target individual with schizophrenia. Results showed that subjects who reported previous contact with individuals with a mental illness rated the male target individual and individuals with mental illness in general as less dangerous than did subjects without previous contact. Subjects who received information summarizing the prevalence rates of violent behavior among individuals with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders (e.g., substance abuse) rated individuals with a mental illness as less dangerous than did subjects who did not receive this information. Implications of the findings for public education are discussed.  (+info)

(5/702) Changing attitudes about schizophrenia.

Research on the effectiveness of short-term education programs in changing societal attitudes about mental illness has been mixed. Education efforts seem to be mediated by characteristics of the program participants. This study determines whether the effects of a specially prepared, semester-long course on severe mental illness are mediated by pre-education knowledge about and contact with severe mental illness. Eighty-three participants who were enrolled in either a course on severe mental illness or general psychology completed the Opinions about Mental Illness Questionnaire before beginning the course and at completion. Research participants also completed a pre-and posttest of knowledge about mental illness and a pretest on their contact with people who have severe mental illness. The education program had positive effects on some attitudes about mental illness. Interestingly, the effects of education group interacted with pre-education knowledge and contact and varied depending on attitude. Participants with more pre-education knowledge and contact were less likely to endorse benevolence attitudes after completing the education program. Participants with more intimate contact showed less improvement in attitudes about social restrictiveness. Implications of these augmentation and ceiling effects are discussed.  (+info)

(6/702) Mental health consumers' experience of stigma.

The extent to which mental health consumers encounter stigma in their daily lives is a matter of substantial importance for their recovery and quality of life. This article summarizes the results of a nationwide survey of 1,301 mental health consumers concerning their experience of stigma and discrimination. Survey results and followup interviews with 100 respondents revealed experience of stigma from a variety of sources, including communities, families, churches, coworkers, and mental health caregivers. The majority of respondents tended to try to conceal their disorders and worried a great deal that others would find out about their psychiatric status and treat them unfavorably. They reported discouragement, hurt, anger, and lowered self-esteem as results of their experiences, and they urged public education as a means for reducing stigma. Some reported that involvement in advocacy and speaking out when stigma and discrimination were encountered helped them to cope with stigma. Limitations to generalization of results include the self-selection, relatively high functioning of participants, and respondent connections to a specific advocacy organization-the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.  (+info)

(7/702) Effects of the label "schizophrenia" on causal attributions of violence.

We investigated the relation between the label of "schizophrenia" and causal attributions of violence. Undergraduates read 1 of 10 scenarios in which two variables were manipulated: a psychiatric label and environmental stress. The scenario described an employee who acted violently toward his boss. Subjects made causal attributions for the employee's behavior by completing an adapted version of the Causal Dimension Scale II. Subjects also completed a questionnaire designed to explore several issues concerning the effects of the schizophrenia label on perceptions of behavior. Contrary to the primary hypothesis, the schizophrenia label did not lead subjects to make significantly more personality causal attributions for violent behavior. With increasing environmental stress, subjects did make significantly fewer personality attributions. A follow-up study using practicing clinicians as subjects yielded similar findings. The results of these studies are discussed in light of perceived stereotypes of persons with schizophrenia and conceptual issues in attribution research.  (+info)

(8/702) Babes and boobs? analysis of JAMA cover art.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the representation of the sexes in JAMA cover art. DESIGN: Review of 50 consecutive issues. SETTING: JAMA, March 1997-March 1998. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Numbers and nature of covers portraying men and women. RESULTS: Of the 50 covers, 34 depicted humans. 15 depicted women, 13 men, and 6 were of mixed or indeterminate sex. 11 pictures of women included a child and five included nudity. One cover showed a man with a child (not as a father) and none depicted nudity. Men were depicted exclusively in authoritative roles. CONCLUSIONS: Much of the cover art gives strong messages about sexual stereotypes that are inappropriate in modern society. JAMA should consider reviewing its policy for choosing cover art.  (+info)