Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2011


Debra Gottel

Advisor Email


People with mental illness are among the most stigmatized groups of patients in the healthcare setting (Putnam, 2008). Nurses comprise roughly 15.3 percent of the healthcare team (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010) and have frequent direct interactions with patients. As one of the larger groups of healthcare providers, nurses can potentially influence this stigma, either by contributing to the prevalent negative attitudes, or by confronting expressions of stigma. A requirement for licensure is to take a course in Mental Health. One of the goals of this course is to decrease stigma toward people with mental illness (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2008). To measure whether or not this course is effective in reducing stigma, the Community Attitudes toward Mental Illness (CAMI) scale created by Taylor and Dear (1981) was utilized to measure nursing students attitudes before and after taking the required Mental Health course at the University of South Florida (USF). The results of this study support that there was a decrease in authoritarian and socially restrictive attitudes towards people with mental illness after completion of the course, with the results being a close to significant. The recommendations include repeating the study over another semester in order to test validity of results, as well as to then utilize the results to assess the need for changes in course delivery or content.