An Examination of Stigmatising Attributions About Mental Illness Among Police Custody Staff

Amy Wainwright, Dara Mojtahedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Individuals who enter police custody may experience mental ill health, making it highly imperative for custody staff to be knowledgeable and competent in this area- however, reports suggest this is not always the case (Leese & Russel, 2017). The present study examined the differences in casual attributions and stereotypes of individuals experiencing mental ill health, namely schizophrenia, between police custody staff (n =77) and members of the general population (n =85). Using the Attribution Questionnaire (AQ-27; Corrigan, 2004), the current study found that the general population held more negative attitudes towards individuals experiencing mental ill health than police custody staff. In particular they endorsed the attributions anger, avoidance, dangerousness and fear. Custody staff were found to be more willing to help vulnerable adults than the general population. In addition, people who knew a family member or friend experiencing mental ill health scored higher on the help and pity attributions. Furthermore, police custody staff highlighted that additional training around mental health would be beneficial to their job role. The authors postulate that further development of an adequate measurement of attitudes of police custody staff towards mental health needs developing in order to put in place effective training.  
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Nov 2019

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Police
child custody
mental illness
attribution
Mental Health
police
staff
examination
health
Dangerous Behavior
Population
mental health
Anger
Fear
schizophrenia
anger
Schizophrenia
family member
stereotype
anxiety

Cite this

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title = "An Examination of Stigmatising Attributions About Mental Illness Among Police Custody Staff",
abstract = "Individuals who enter police custody may experience mental ill health, making it highly imperative for custody staff to be knowledgeable and competent in this area- however, reports suggest this is not always the case (Leese & Russel, 2017). The present study examined the differences in casual attributions and stereotypes of individuals experiencing mental ill health, namely schizophrenia, between police custody staff (n =77) and members of the general population (n =85). Using the Attribution Questionnaire (AQ-27; Corrigan, 2004), the current study found that the general population held more negative attitudes towards individuals experiencing mental ill health than police custody staff. In particular they endorsed the attributions anger, avoidance, dangerousness and fear. Custody staff were found to be more willing to help vulnerable adults than the general population. In addition, people who knew a family member or friend experiencing mental ill health scored higher on the help and pity attributions. Furthermore, police custody staff highlighted that additional training around mental health would be beneficial to their job role. The authors postulate that further development of an adequate measurement of attitudes of police custody staff towards mental health needs developing in order to put in place effective training.  ",
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AU - Mojtahedi, Dara

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N2 - Individuals who enter police custody may experience mental ill health, making it highly imperative for custody staff to be knowledgeable and competent in this area- however, reports suggest this is not always the case (Leese & Russel, 2017). The present study examined the differences in casual attributions and stereotypes of individuals experiencing mental ill health, namely schizophrenia, between police custody staff (n =77) and members of the general population (n =85). Using the Attribution Questionnaire (AQ-27; Corrigan, 2004), the current study found that the general population held more negative attitudes towards individuals experiencing mental ill health than police custody staff. In particular they endorsed the attributions anger, avoidance, dangerousness and fear. Custody staff were found to be more willing to help vulnerable adults than the general population. In addition, people who knew a family member or friend experiencing mental ill health scored higher on the help and pity attributions. Furthermore, police custody staff highlighted that additional training around mental health would be beneficial to their job role. The authors postulate that further development of an adequate measurement of attitudes of police custody staff towards mental health needs developing in order to put in place effective training.  

AB - Individuals who enter police custody may experience mental ill health, making it highly imperative for custody staff to be knowledgeable and competent in this area- however, reports suggest this is not always the case (Leese & Russel, 2017). The present study examined the differences in casual attributions and stereotypes of individuals experiencing mental ill health, namely schizophrenia, between police custody staff (n =77) and members of the general population (n =85). Using the Attribution Questionnaire (AQ-27; Corrigan, 2004), the current study found that the general population held more negative attitudes towards individuals experiencing mental ill health than police custody staff. In particular they endorsed the attributions anger, avoidance, dangerousness and fear. Custody staff were found to be more willing to help vulnerable adults than the general population. In addition, people who knew a family member or friend experiencing mental ill health scored higher on the help and pity attributions. Furthermore, police custody staff highlighted that additional training around mental health would be beneficial to their job role. The authors postulate that further development of an adequate measurement of attitudes of police custody staff towards mental health needs developing in order to put in place effective training.  

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