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Caregivers’ Knowledge of Etiology of Mental Illness in a Tertiary Health Institution in Nigeria

AUTHORS

Baba A Issa 1 , * , Dauda B Parakoyi 2 , Abdullahi D Yussuf 3 , Ibrahim O Musa 2

AUTHORS INFORMATION

1 Department of Behavioural Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, P.M.B. 1515, Ilorin, Nigeria

2 Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

3 Department of Behavioural Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

How to Cite: A Issa B, B Parakoyi D, Yussuf A D, Musa I O. Caregivers’ Knowledge of Etiology of Mental Illness in a Tertiary Health Institution in Nigeria, Iran J Psychiatry Behav Sci. 2008 ; 2(1):43-9.

ARTICLE INFORMATION

Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences: 2 (1); 43-9
Published Online: January 31, 2008
Article Type: Original Article
Received: November 04, 2007
Accepted: December 19, 2007

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Abstract

Objective: Erroneous beliefs about causation and lack of adequate knowledge have been found to sustain deep seated negative attitudes about mental illness. Conversely, better knowledge results in improved attitudes towards people with mental illness and a belief that mental illnesses are treatable can encourage early treatment seeking and promote better outcomes. The aim of this study was to assess the awareness of the etiology of mental illness among the caregivers and to determine their knowledge onthe treatment possibilities.

Methods: A cross sectional study of all consenting consecutive caregivers of mentally ill patients attending the in-, and out-patients psychiatric facilities of University Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria was done, using a
questionnaire method.

Results: Three hundred and ninety-four respondents were recruited for the study. The mean age of the respondents was 38.84 ± 14.64. Majority (244 or 61.9%) of the respondents believed drug and alcohol misuse could cause mental illness, while the belief that it could be due to ‘curse’ were reported by only 75 (19.0%) respondents. Male gender was associated with belief that alcohol and drug misuse, stress, genetic inheritance, physical illness, and poverty were causes of mental illnesses(p<0.05). Higher educational status was also associated with alcohol and drug, traumatic events, stress, genetic inheritance, and physical abuse (p<0.05) as causes of mental illness.

Conclusion: There is a better knowledge of mental illness among caregivers than the predominant supernatural causes earlier attributed to mental illness by Nigerian communities. In order to sustain this, there is need for psycho-education.

Keywords

Caregivers Etiology Knowledge Mental Illness Nigeria

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