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Title: Older people's attitudes to mental illness
Author: Quinn, K. M.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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This study explores older people’s attitudes to mental illness within the context of ageing, and considers whether attitudes act as potential barriers to engagement in health-related behaviours, and lead to lower subjective wellbeing. Focus groups were undertaken to pilot the study questionnaire and explore the subject area. A cross-sectional independent groups design was then employed to compare responses of clinical and non-clinical participants on a self-report questionnaire assessing attitudes to mental illness and ageing. Similar to younger people older people endorsed a range of positive and negative attitudes to mental illness. However, when attitudes to mental illness were considered within the context of ageing and experience a more complex pattern of results emerged. While negative attitudes to mental illness were associated with negative attitudes to ageing across the entire sample, clinical participants (and those with prior experience of mental illness) reported more positive attitudes to mental illness and more negative attitudes to ageing than non-clinical participants, for whom the reverse was true. Attitudes were also differentially related to outcomes. This, positive attitudes to ageing predicted stronger endorsement of health-related behaviours (F(2,71) = 9.93, p < 0.001), while negative attitudes to ageing and mental illness predicted lower subjective well-being (F(4,67) = 22.99, p < 0.001). Attitudes to mental illness and ageing may be linked and mediated by personal experience and capacity for psychological self-regulation in the face of age-associated adversity. As one potential cause of the under-use of mental health services by older people, attitudes to mental illness in later life should form the focus of targeted health education interventions designed to address ageist misconceptions and ensure that all older people are given the opportunity to receive care likely to improve their health and well-being.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available