Impact of contact on adolescents’ mental health literacy and stigma: the SchoolSpace cluster randomised controlled trial

Abstract

Objectives To investigate whether intergroup contact in addition to education is more effective than education alone in reducing stigma of mental illness in adolescents. Design A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial compared education alone with education plus contact. Blocking was used to randomly stratify classes within schools to condition. Random allocation was concealed, generated by a computer algorithm, and undertaken after pretest. Data was collected at pretest and 2-week follow-up. Analyses use an intention-to-treat basis. Setting Secondary schools in Birmingham, UK. Participants The parents and guardians of all students in year 8 (age 12–13 years) were approached to take part. Interventions A 1-day educational programme in each school led by mental health professional staff. Students in the ‘contact’ condition received an interactive session with a young person with lived experience of mental illness. Outcomes The primary outcome was students’ attitudinal stigma of mental illness. Secondary outcomes included knowledge-based stigma, mental health literacy, emotional well-being and resilience, and help-seeking attitudes. Results Participants were recruited between 1 May 2011 and 30 April 2012. 769 participants completed the pretest and were randomised to condition. 657 (85%) provided follow-up data. At 2-week follow-up, attitudinal stigma improved in both conditions with no significant effect of condition (95% CI −0.40 to 0.22, p=0.5, d=0.01). Significant improvements were found in the education-alone condition compared with the contact and education condition for the secondary outcomes of knowledge-based stigma, mental health literacy, emotional well-being and resilience, and help-seeking attitudes. Conclusions Contact was found to reduce the impact of the intervention for a number of outcomes. Caution is advised before employing intergroup contact with younger student age groups. The education intervention appeared to be successful in reducing stigma, promoting mental health knowledge, and increasing mental health literacy, as well as improving emotional well-being and resilience. A larger trial is needed to confirm these results. Trial registration number ISRCTN07406026; Results.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009435
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences > Applied Health Research Group
College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/ This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Publication ISSN: 2044-6055
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://bmjopen ... ent/6/2/e009435 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2016-02-19
Accepted Date: 2016-01-14
Authors: Chisholm, Katharine (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-0575-0789)
Patterson, Paul
Torgerson, Carol
Turner, Erin
Jenkinson, David
Birchwood, Max

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