Stigmatization of patients with mental disorders by somatic health professionals: a review of the scope
This article was originally published here
BMC Psychiatry. Sep 7, 2021; 21 (1): 443. doi: 10.1186 / s12888-021-03415-8.
Background: Patients with mental disorders have an increased risk of developing somatic disorders, just as they have a higher risk of dying from them. These patients often report feeling devalued and rejected by healthcare professionals in the somatic healthcare system, and a growing body of evidence shows that disparities in healthcare delivery contribute to poor health outcomes. The aim of this review was to map and synthesize the literature on the stigmatization of somatic health professionals towards patients with mental disorders.
METHODS: We performed a scoping study using the Arksey and O’Malley framework and systematically searched three databases: Cinahl, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO in May-June 2019. Peer-reviewed articles published in English or Scandinavian languages during the period 2008-2019. were reviewed by title, summary and full text reading. We organized and analyzed the data using NVivo.
RESULTS: A total of 137 articles meeting the eligibility criteria were reviewed and classified into observational studies (n = 73) and intervention studies (n = 64). A majority of studies (N = 85) focused on patients with an unknown number of mental disorders, while 52 studies focused on specific diagnoses, primarily schizophrenia (n = 13), self-harm (n = 13) and eating disorders (n = 9). Half of the studies involved health students (n = 64), mainly nursing students (n = 26) and medical students (n = 25), while (n = 66) focused on professionals health, mainly emergency personnel (n = 16) and general practitioners (n = 13). In addition, seven studies included both health professionals and students. A detailed characterization of the identified intervention studies was conducted, resulting in eight main types of interventions.
CONCLUSIONS: The large number of studies identified in this review suggest that stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors towards patients with mental disorders is a global challenge in a somatic health care setting. For more targeted interventions, there is a need for further research on underexposed mental diagnoses and whether specific health professionals have a more stigmatizing attitude or behavior towards specific mental disorders.