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Preliminary communication

Do nursing students stigmatize patients suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder?

Josipa Rožman ; General hospital Karlovac, Department of Psychiatry, Andrije Štampara 3, 47000 Karlovac
Goran Arbanas ; General hospital Karlovac, Department of Psychiatry, Andrije Štampara 3, 47000 Karlovac

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Psychiatric patients, in addition to the difficulties associated with their mental disorder, are faced with difficulties that arise from their stigmatization in the environment in which they live. Discriminating behaviours such as limits on health care, the right to education, various situations related to employment are just some of the examples that can further undermine their physical and psychological health. Stigma leads to low self-esteem and to feelings of isolation, loneliness and discrimination, which further complicates the treatment of the underlying disease.

Stigma often accompanies mental disorders and usually interferes with the treatment and patients’ functioning. After the Homeland War in Croatia, there has been a high number of people suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is often portrayed negatively in the media.

Participants were 94 nursing students. There were 85% female participants with the average age of 32 (age range 22 to 54). Stigma toward schizophrenia, depression and PTSD was measured by a questionnaire with 15 items for each of the disorders, with Likert-type responses.

Nursing students showed much higher level of stigma toward schizophrenia, compared to PTSD and depression. Women were more stigmatizing toward schizophrenia than men. Freshmen students were more stigmatizing toward PTSD than sophomores and juniors. Older students (older than 36) were more stigmatizing, compared to younger students.


stigma, schizophrenia, depression, PTSD, nursing students

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