Positive attitudes are correlated with positive emotional experiences of health care staff

By Nicola Rose
Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Mainstream services are starting to provide mental health care for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) more often. This has implications for health care staff (service providers) and service users (people with ID). Research suggests that attitudes of mental health service staff are oftentimes negative towards individuals with ID. These negative attitudes may have a harmful impact on provision of mental health care.

What did you do in your research?
We wanted to investigate the attitudes and emotions of staff towards delivering mental health care to adults with ID. We also wanted to learn if there were any differences in attitudes and frequency of contact with adults with ID, case workload, and the amount of formal training related to ID. Staff from mainstream and specialist ID services completed a survey.

What did you find out?
When the frequency of contact with adults with ID, the number of individuals worked with and the amount of formal ID training received were considered, there was no significant difference between the attitudes of staff in both services. Staff in both services also experienced more positive emotions when working with clients they already knew. Positive correlations were found between attitude scores and positive emotional experiences in both services.

What are the take-home messages?
The research suggests that numerous factors need to be considered in the context of providing mental health services to adults with ID to ensure the highest quality. The study findings imply that a number of factors, such as the role of emotional experience and environmental aspects, need to be considered in the context of providing mental health services to adults with ID to ensure this is of the highest quality.

To learn more about these findings contact
Nicola Rose.

Full Journal Article
Rose, N., Kent, S., & Rose, J. (2012). Health professionals' attitudes and emotions towards working with adults with intellectual disability (ID) and mental ill health. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 56(9), 854–864.