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Title: Arab adolescents' attitudes towards mental health in Kuwait
Author: Al Sayed, Sara
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 3839
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2018
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Aims and Rationale: Individuals suffering from mental health difficulties and disorders experience stigma and discrimination in various areas of their lives. Mental illness stigma results in diminished self-esteem, increased risk of suicide, feelings of shame and a decrease in their desire to seek support from mental health professionals. This study aimed to assess changes in attitudes following a brief informative talk on mental health. Moreover, the study aimed to explore the attitudes and beliefs of Arab high school students in Kuwait towards people suffering from mental illness. The findings aim to broaden an understanding of the subject area within the Arab population in order to inform future approaches to decrease stigmatizing beliefs and increase more accepting attitudes and help-seeking behaviors. Method: A mixed-method approach was used to examine attitudes towards individuals suffering from mental disorders in 111 Arab high school students. Firstly, the quantitative part of the study explored changes in attitudes following an informative talk using a survey questionnaire. 105 Arab high school students took part in the study and were divided into two groups, one group received a talk on 'Myths and Facts' around mental illness while the second group received a talk on 'Education and Career' paths one could take in the field of psychology. The qualitative part of the study explored 6 Arab high school students' beliefs around mental illness as well as their personal experiences in dealing with mental health difficulties and discrimination using semi-structured interviews. Results: The findings of the quantitative study demonstrated an overall increase in benevolence and an overall decrease in social restrictiveness following the talks. Students in the 'Myths and Facts' group displayed a significant improvement in social restrictiveness attitudes following their talk, the 'Education and Career' group did not show this improvement. Findings from the qualitative study represented a juxtaposition between participants' expressed positive and supportive views towards individuals with mental illness and their expectations of negative behaviors and attitudes from the public towards those suffering from mental health difficulties. Conclusion: The findings provide an understanding of existing beliefs around mental illness in the Arab youth which in turn provides mental health professionals with the required knowledge to tackle the issue of stigma within this specific population. Educational approaches offer adolescents insight on mental illness and positively impact their opinions and views towards people suffering from mental disorders. This is crucial in promoting more accepting attitudes and encouraging help-seeking behaviors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.Couns.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available