Healthcare professionals’ regard toward working with patients with substance use disorders: Comparison of primary care, general psychiatry and specialist addiction services

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Abstract

Background
Healthcare professionals are crucial in access to treatment for patients with substance use disorders. However, healthcare professionals often have negative attitudes towards this patient group. Healthcare professionals’ regard for working with patients with substance use disorders was examined and three sectors in which professionals are working were compared.
Methods
General practitioners (GPs; N = 180), healthcare professionals of general psychiatry (N = 89) and specialists in addiction services (N = 78) filled out a questionnaire in which regard for working with patients with substance use disorders was assessed. ANOVAs were used to compare the sectors and multiple linear regression analysis tested the association of regard with attribution beliefs, emotional reactions and other characteristics of healthcare professionals.
Results
Regard for working with patients with substance use disorders was different between the three sectors (GPs M = 42.00; general psychiatry M = 48.18; addiction specialists M = 55.41; p = 0.00, ω2 = 0.40). Attribution of personal responsibility and feeling of anger and fear were associated with lower regard scores. More familiarity with substance use problems, higher frequency of working with this patients group and more confidence in substance abuse treatment were positively associated with regard. Social desirability bias was present and was positively related to healthcare professionals’ regard.
Conclusions
Health care professionals of specialist addiction services showed higher regard for working with patients with substance use disorders compared to professionals of general psychiatry services and GPs. Improvement of education and shared care models in which healthcare professionals are supported by professionals specializing in addiction might address low regard.
Keywords: Substance-related disorders, Attitude of health personnel, Stigma,
Medical condition regard scale, Cross-sectional study
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-98
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume134
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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