Comparing mental health literacy and physical health literacy: an exploratory study
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Mental Health. 2017, 26 (5), 449-456. 10.1080/09638237.2017.1294743
Background: This study compared mental health and physical health literacy using five health problems from each area. Aims: The aim was to determine whether the same group had better physical than mental health literacy Method: A sample of 263 participants completed an online questionnaire requiring them to name a problem/illness described in 10 vignettes and suggest treatment options. Five vignettes described mental health problems (anxiety, bipolar-disorder, depression, OCPD and schizophrenia) and five physical problems (angina, COPD, diabetes, a heart attack, and sinusitis). Participants were also asked to rate their sympathy and estimates of prevalence for each disorder. Results: Recognition of the mental health disorders was superior compared recognition of the physical disorders. Analysis of treatment beliefs, sympathy and prevalence ratings also showed significant differences between disorders. Conclusions: Results highlight the importance of education and the lack of public knowledge regarding major physical health conditions.