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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 315-319

Perceptions and attitudes of students of mass communication toward mental illness in Nigerian Tertiary Institution


Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Lateef Olutoyin Oluwole
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Ekiti State University,Ado Ekiti
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0971-9962.193650

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Background: The power of the modern mass media is not limited to its ability to communicate information and entertain but derives primarily from its ability to define situations, thereby enabling it to construct social reality. Stigma is related to negative stereotyping and prejudicial attitudes that in turn lead to discriminatory practices. Aims: The study sought to know the perceptions of and attitudes of mass communication students towards mental illness and the mentally ill. Settings and Design: The study population comprised of final year Diploma students of Mass Communication of a foremost tertiary institution in Nigeria. Methods and Material: The World Psychiatric Association questionnaire measuring attitudes towards Schizophrenia was modified and administered to the students. Results: Study also showed only one-fifth of all respondents had contact with either an advert or a promotion about mental illness. About three-quarter (74.1%) of those who had come in contact with information on mental illness had done so through audiovisuals including television and radio. More than half of the students ranked environmental factors foremost among causes of mental illness. Majority of the students (85.9%) would definitely not marry someone with mental illness. Conclusions: The enormous potential and influence the media has on mental health issues would require that mental health professionals provide great input into the enlightenment program for these young and mental health-naïve potential image makers.


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