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Changing healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards voice hearers

Reddyhough, Caitlin (2021) Changing healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards voice hearers. Professional Doctorate thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

The experience of hearing voices remains highly stigmatised, with this stigma holding serious implications for treatment and recovery. Healthcare professionals and healthcare students have been implicated as a source of, and maintaining factor for, this stigma, however there is little research to date examining interventions to reduce this stigma. The overarching aim of this dissertation was to examine the impact of education and direct contact on the implicit and explicit stigma towards voice hearers, held by healthcare professionals and students. This dissertation begins with a narrative literature review of existing literature examining interventions to reduce stigma towards voice hearing, in populations of healthcare professionals, healthcare students, and the general public. The first empirical study examined the impact of an education intervention on implicit and explicit stigma towards voice hearing, in a sample of healthcare professionals (N = 59, aged 24 – 59 years , 83.1% female), from a range of disciplines. Results suggested that the education intervention was effective in reducing explicit but not implicit stigma towards voice hearers. Our second empirical study examined the impact of the same education intervention on explicit and implicit stigma towards voice hearing, in a sample of healthcare students (N = 49, aged 21 – 58 years , 89.8% female). Furthermore, it examined the impact of online versus face-to-face education delivery methods on measures of stigma. Results indicated that both online and face-to-face education delivery were effective in reducing explicit but not implicit stigma towards voice hearing in healthcare students. Finally, empirical study three explored the attitudes and experiences of healthcare students (N = 11, aged 26 – 39 years, 90.9% female) following direct contact with people who experience voice hearing, through the form of semi-structured, reflective interviews. Results indicated that following direct contact, healthcare students demonstrated more positive attitudes towards voice hearing, and also shifted their attitudes towards the self. Taken together, the findings from this dissertation support the use of both education interventions and direct contact to reduce explicit stigma towards people who experience voice hearing, in healthcare professionals and students. While generally implicit stigma remained stable over time, further research is required in this area. Given the detrimental impact of stigma on voice hearer’s experience of voices, treatment and recovery trajectory, it is recommended that these interventions are delivered on a broader scale.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Supervisor(s): Hastie, Brianne, Paulik-White, Georgie, Locke, Vance and Mathersul, Danielle
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/62775
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