BACKGROUND: Professionals working with psychiatric patients very often have negative beliefs and attitudes about their clients. We designed our study to investigate the effectiveness of anti-stigma interventions among university students who are trained to provide special education. OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to compare sustainability of the effect of two anti-stigma education programs. METHODS: We enrolled 91 college students from the School of Special Education at the Herzen Russian State Pedagogic University (St Petersburg, Russia). Of those, 36 read two articles and World Health Organization brochure (reading group, RG) devoted to the problem of psychiatric stigma, and 32 studied an anti-stigma web-based program (program group, PG). Twenty-three students were in a control group (CG) and received no intervention. The second study visit in six months was completed by 65 students. To measure the level of stigma we used the Community Attitudes toward the Mentally Ill (CAMI) questionnaire. The web-based program was based on the Computer-assisted Education system (CO-ED) which we described previously. The CO-ED system provides self-paced interactive education driven by adult learning theories. RESULTS: At the time of their first visit the age of the study participants was 19.0+/-1.2 years; of them, 99% were females. After the intervention in PG, the level of stigma assessed by CAMI decreased from 24.0+/-5.0 to 15.8+/- 4.6 points (p<0.0001). In RG the level of stigma dropped from 24.1+/-6.1 to 20.3+/-6.4 points (p<0.0001). In six months after the intervention the analysis of CAMI scores showed that the level of stigma in PG was significantly lower than in CG and RG (20.2+/-6.2 in CG, 21.3+/-6.5 in RG, and 18.7+/-4.9 in PG, p<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Web-based education or reading anti-stigma materials could be effective in reducing psychiatric stigma among university students. The effect of interactive web-based education based on adult learning theories was more stable as assessed in six months.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||AMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium|
|State||Published - 2007|
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