Stigmatizing Attitudes Towards People with Mental Illness: A Guide to Better Understanding
Mental illness issues should be taking into a serious discussion and consideration by every level of society. Attitude can control our action and knowledge can reduce stigma on mental illness. This paper discusses factors influencing attitude towards mental illness individuals at university level and supported by empirically tests the measurement model of attitudes using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). Other variables involved are knowledge and media. A total of 350university students from Malaysia were involved in this ex post facto study. Cross-validation was done. A well-fitting model was generated with; χ²/df = 1.819; GFI = .927; CFI = .935; TLI = .920; RMSEA = .028; p = .176. Composite reliability (CR) was .95 and variance extracted (VE) was 68%. Media explains 72% of variance in social attitude. This shows that even though people have knowledge of mental illness, they still have a negative view of people suffering from mental illness and distance themselves from them. Therefore, people suffering from mental illness often face stigmatization and an increase in public awareness and support is highly needed.
Keywords - Mental Illness, Attitude, Knowledge, Media