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Arch Hellen Med, 37(2), March-April 2019, 218-229


The effect of the attachment orientation of mental health professionals
οn their attitudes about mental illness and their job satisfaction

E. Papakosta-Gaki,1 Α. Tsounis,1 K. Kafetsios2
1Centers for the Prevention of Addictions and Promoting Psychosocial Health, Municipality of Thessaloniki SEIRIOS, Municipality of Thessaloniki – OKANA, Thessaloniki,
2Department of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, University of Crete, Rethymno, Crete, Greece

OBJECTIVE Investigation of the effect of the attachment orientation of mental health professionals on their perceptions regarding mental health patients and the social distance that they maintain from the patients, and on their job satisfaction.

METHOD The study was conducted with 323 mental health professionals, employed in state hospitals, psychiatric clinics, mental health centers, firstand second-grade mental health institutions, and centers for the prevention and treatment of addictions. The research tools used were a questionnaire on opinions about mental illness, the scales of social distance, the level of contact report, an overall job satisfaction scale, and the relationship questionnaire. Statistical analysis, which included parametric and non-parametric controls and multiple linear regression, was conducted with the use of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (IBM SPSS Statistics), version 20.0.

RESULTS The study indicated that the attitudes of the mental health professionals are affected by their attachment orientation. Health professionals with dismissive and preoccupied types of attachment orientation tended to stigmatize mental health patients, and to propose boosting of restrictive measures. Job satisfaction was negatively related with dismissive and preoccupied attachment styles. The more satisfaction the professionals reported with their job, the more they tended to stigmatize mental health patients and to propose boosting of restrictive measures. Differences between the specialties were observed, with nurses reporting higher levels of social distance from mental health patients and lower job satisfaction, compared with other professionals.

CONCLUSIONS The study of the attachment working models of mental health professionals may elucidate the mechanisms of the development and reproduction of their negative attitudes and stereotypical perceptions. Identifying these specific mechanisms may prove helpful for the development of intervention strategies targeting at changing the stereotypes of health professionals concerning mental health.

Key words: Attachment theory, Job satisfaction, Mental health professionals, Mental illness.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine