Psychosocial Intervention Psychosocial Intervention
Psychosocial Intervention 26 (2017) 103-9 - Vol. 26 No.2 DOI: 10.1016/j.psi.2016.11.003
Breaking barriers: An education and contact intervention to reduce mental illness stigma among Indian college students
Rompiendo barreras: una intervención educativa y de contacto para reducir el estigma de los trastornos mentales en los estudiantes universitarios de la India
Kanika K. Ahuja, Megha Dhillon, , Anisha Juneja, Bhuvaneswari Sharma
Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi, India
Received 26 April 2016, Accepted 30 November 2016
Abstract

This study assessed the effectiveness of an intervention designed to foster more positive attitudes towards persons with mental illness among college students in Delhi. A total of 50 young people participated in a one-time education and contact based intervention. Attitudes towards persons with mental illness were assessed before the intervention, immediately after it and at a one week follow-up. Results indicated increased feelings of benevolence, community mental health ideology and less authoritarianism at the post-intervention assessments. Reduction in endorsement of social restrictiveness was also observed but only in the case of the immediate post-assessment. We also observed a greater recognition of needs, increased positive descriptions, decreased negative descriptions and reduced labelling after the intervention. These results support the efficacy of education and contact-based strategies for reducing mental illness stigma. Implications of the findings for low-middle income countries like India are discussed.

Keywords
  • Mental illness
  • Stigma
  • Intervention
  • College students
Resumen

El estudio valoró la eficacia de una intervención diseñada para favorecer unas actitudes más positivas hacia las personas con trastornos mentales entre los universitarios de Delhi. Un total de 50 jóvenes participaron en una intervención educativa y de contacto. Se evaluaron las actitudes hacia las personas con enfermedades mentales antes, justo después y una semana después de la intervención. Los resultados aumentaron los sentimientos de benevolencia, y la ideología de salud mental comunitaria y redujeron el autoritarismo en las evaluaciones después de la intervención. También se apreció una disminución del apoyo de la restricción social, pero solo en el caso de la evaluación inmediatamente posterior. Asimismo, se observó un mayor reconocimiento de las necesidades, más descripciones positivas, menos descripciones negativas y se redujeron las etiquetas después de la intervención. Estos resultados respaldan la eficacia de las estrategias de educación y contacto para reducir el estigma de los trastornos mentales. Se discuten las implicaciones de estos hallazgos para países de ingresos bajos-medios como la India.

Keywords
  • Trastornos mentales
  • Estigma
  • Intervención
  • Universitarios
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Acknowledgments

We would like to express our deep appreciation to all students in the Psychology Honours course, Batch of 2016, Lady Shri Ram College for Women for their immense support in shaping the study, collecting data and analyzing it.

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Psychosocial Intervention 26 (2017) 103-9 - Vol. 26 No.2 DOI: 10.1016/j.psi.2016.11.003