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The development of a new psychometric scale: Police and Community Attitudes towards Offenders with ‘Mental Illness’: PACAMI-O

Glendinning, Annas (2013) The development of a new psychometric scale: Police and Community Attitudes towards Offenders with ‘Mental Illness’: PACAMI-O. New University of Buckinghamshire.

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Abstract

Research suggested that there was a need for a new psychometric measure to assess attitudes towards offenders with mental health problems. In this article the reliability and validity of a changed version of the 'Community Attitudes towards the Mentally Ill' scale (CAMI) (Taylor and Dear, 1981), called the 'Police and Community Attitudes towards Offenders with Mental Illness' scale (PACAMI-O) was tested. A sample of police and community participants (N = 178) completed the PACAMI-O scale through the online surveying system, Psychdata. The new psychometric measure consisted of the same forty items featured in the CAMI; although, the wording was adapted. This modification was observed where 'offender' replaced 'adult' and 'forensic mental health services' replaced 'mental health services'. The internal reliability of the scale for the combined sample was high (α=.929), which implied that the scale holds very good internal reliability. An exploratory factor analysis identified four new factors: Self Preservation, Societal Reservation, Mental Health Awareness and Treatment Ideology. A t-test revealed there was a significant difference between the scores of the Police and Community sample, with the effect size depicting a large magnitude between the means (t (176) = p=. 019, η²= .16). The PACAMI-O scale appears adequate to be utilised when measuring attitudes towards offenders with mental health problems; however, a future suggestion for research would be to assess attitudes towards offenders with specific mental health problems endorsed.

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