Mental Health and Substance Abuse Professionals' Attitudes Toward Dually Diagnosed Clients in a Community-Based Treatment Center
Bullock, Joseph Edward
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Mental health and substance abuse treatment systems have a history of incompatible philosophies and conflicts that have been associated with poor treatment outcomes for persons dually diagnosed. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not there are differences in attitudes between mental health and substance abuse professionals toward the dually diagnosed client and whether or not academic discipline, levels of training and experience, occupation, and amount of contact affect the attitudes of these professional groups. A non-experimental survey research design was used for this study, and data were collected by means of a revised Opinions About Mental Illness (OMI) survey instrument and supplemental demographic questionnaire. The modified OMI instrument was piloted by a panel of subject matter experts experienced in the treatment of persons who are dually diagnosed in which they rated each item for favorableness to concepts of dual diagnosis. The modified OMI survey and a demographic questionnaire were administered to a sample consisting of mental health and substance abuse professionals employed at a local community mental health center. A total of 86 respondents representing 95% of the sample population completed the modified OMI survey and demographic questionnaire. Data were analyzed using descriptive, independent sample t-test, and multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) statistics. Results revealed no statistically significant differences in attitude between mental health and substance abuse professionals toward dually diagnosed clients. Analysis of the independent variables academic discipline, level of training and experience, occupation, and amount of contact demonstrated no significant interaction effects between mental health and substance abuse professionals. Despite the absence of statistically significant differences in attitude between the mental health and substance abuse professionals, the similarities may be significant in terms of the psychological value for building positive relationships. The atmosphere of agency culture and the significance of co-location of mental health and substance abuse professionals were also potentially important factors in the outcome of the present study.
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