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The effectiveness of an anti-stigma intervention in a basic police officer training programme: a controlled study
Lunds universitet. (CEPI)
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6330-5640
2014 (English)In: BMC Psychiatry, ISSN 1471-244X, E-ISSN 1471-244X, Vol. 14, 55- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Stigma and discrimination are still prominent features of the life situation of persons with mental illness, adding to the burden of the illness, causing a lowered self-esteem, quality of life and affecting possibilities of adequate housing and work. It is also a major barrier to help seeking. The deinstitutionalization of mental health services has led to a significant increase in contacts between the police and persons with mental illness. It has been argued that police officers should be provided education and training to enable them to interact adaptively and with good outcomes with people with mental illness. The present study is investigating the effectiveness of an anti-stigma intervention in a basic police officer training programme at a university in Sweden. Methods: The study was performed as a controlled pre-post intervention study using a comparison group, and a 6-month follow-up of the intervention group. Attitudes, mental health literacy and intentional behaviour were assessed. Main analyses were made on an intention to treat basis using repeated measures ANOVA. A total of 120 participants at a basic police officer training programme were included. Results: Time by group analyses showed improvements in the intervention group in overall score of attitudes and regarding the subscale Open minded and pro integration, in intentional behaviour (willingness to work with) and in 4 out of 6 items assessing mental health literacy. At the 6-month follow-up the intervention group had, as compared to baseline, improved attitudes in both overall score and in two of the subscales. Intentional behaviour had also improved in terms of an increased willingness to live or work with a person with mental health problems. Mental health literacy had improved in 3 out of 6 items. Conclusions: The anti-stigma intervention proved to be effective in changing attitudes, mental health literacy and intentional behaviour. Improvements mainly endured at the 6-month follow-up. The intervention seems promising in facilitating encounters between the police and persons with mental illness. Further studies are needed to disentangle the relative effectiveness of the components of the intervention before further implementation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2014. Vol. 14, 55- p.
Keyword [en]
anti-stigma intervention, discrimination, police officer
National Category
Nursing Social Work
Research subject
omvårdnadsforskning med samhällsvetenskaplig inriktning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-87212DOI: 10.1186/1471-244X-14-55ISI: 000332704500002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-87212DiVA: diva2:707604
Available from: 2014-03-25 Created: 2014-03-25 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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