EFFECT OF EDUCATION ON STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION TOWARDS MENTAL ILLNESS: A MULTIVARIATE ANALYSIS OF COVARIANCE
Keywords:Mental illness, Stigma, Discrimination, Education, rural Sarawak
People with mental illness often encounter stigma and discrimination. Mental illness-related stigma and discrimination represent the enormous obstacles that stand in the way of delivering mental health care. Little is known about stigma and discrimination toward mental illness in rural Sarawak. Thus, this study aimed to identify the stigma and discrimination towards mental illness among Sarawak’s rural community and the factors affecting them. A cross-sectional survey was carried out on 840 respondent adults aged 21 and above. A validated Community Attitude towards Mental Illness (CAMI) and Discrimination towards Mental Illness questionnaire was used for data collection. A Two-way Multiple Analysis of Covariance (Two-way MANCOVA) test was carried out to determine how much gender and education level influence stigma and discrimination towards mentally ill patients. Analysis showed that there was a statistically significant difference of standardised stigma and discrimination scores with education level (p<.001), but not with gender (p>.05). Age had a positive linear effect on both stigma and discrimination, whereas experience with mentally ill patients negatively affected both stigma and discrimination. Individuals with a lower level of education, older in age, and lesser experience in dealing with the mentally ill would have a higher level of stigma and discrimination towards mental illness. Thus, targeted and practical strategies need to be organised and implemented to combat mental illness-related stigma and discrimination.
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