Intimacy Of Contact With People With Emotional Or Mental Health Problems And Expectation Of Negative Public Attitudes Toward People With Depression
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Background: Previous research has shown that there is an association between prior contact with a person with emotional or mental health problems and an expectation of negative public attitudes toward people with a mental illness. Expectation of negative public attitudes is an extra burden that is associated with mental illnesses. Objectives: 1) Describe Canadians’ expectations of negative attitudes toward people with depression. 2) Examine the association between intimacy of prior contact with a person with emotional or mental health problems and the expectation of negative public attitudes towards those with depression. Methods: Data from the rapid response portion of the 2010 Canadian Community Health Survey were used. There were 10,389 respondents. Exposure was divided into any prior contact and no prior contact and for further analyses any contact was sub-divided into most intimate contact (self, family member, friend, co-worker) or total number of types of contact (0, 1, 2, 3/4). Outcome was determined using a reduced version of Link’s Devaluation-Discrimination Measure. A stigma score was determined and the respondent was categorized into one of three groups based on score (low, moderate, or high expectations of negative public attitudes). Stratified analyses and ordinal regression were used to determine if Canadians were less likely to hold negative attitudes if they had prior personal contact with someone who had a mental illness and if negative attitudes were inversely associated with intimacy of contact. Results: There was only one statistically significant result. Compared to those who had personally experienced a mental illness, those who identified knowing a co-worker with a mental illness had higher odds of expecting negative public attitudes (OR= 10.61, 95% CI: 1.41, 79.70), however, this may have been a spurious association owing to the large number of comparisons made. Conclusion: In this study, with one possible exception, previous prior contact with a person with emotional or mental health problems was not associated with expectation of negative public attitudes toward people with depression.