e-space
Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

A Q-Methodology study into the stigma of substance misusers and whether inducing empathy can improve attitudes towards this group.

Walsh, Nicole (2015) A Q-Methodology study into the stigma of substance misusers and whether inducing empathy can improve attitudes towards this group. Edinburgh Napier University. (Unpublished)

[img]
Preview

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

Stigma is found to lead to reluctance from substance misusers to seek treatment and is a barrier to recovery from drug addiction (Ahern, Stuber & Galea, 2007). Drug addicts have been said to avoid seeking help from professionals due to the way they are made to feel in a healthcare environment and are made to feel embarrassed when being involved in treatment programmes in the community (Lloyd, 2010). Empathy has been found to be a strong factor in improving attitudes towards stigmatised groups, such as drug addicts (Batson, 2002). This study aimed to investigate whether attitudes would be more empathetic and positive towards the topic of substance misuse in a Q-Methodology study involving two conditions; high empathy (encouraged to imagine yourself in the position of the other) or low empathy (encouraged to remain objective). This idea led to the formation of the two hypotheses of this study; that high empathy participants would produce empathetic attitudes towards substance misuse and that low empathy participants would produce less empathetic responses than the high empathy condition. Q-Methodology was adopted due to its abilities in unveiling subjective perception from participants, as it was the nature of perceptions towards substance misusers that was of interest. It was found that high empathy participants offered more empathetic perception of substance misuse, where factor analysis found themes that encouraged positive treatment of this group. Conversely, the low empathy condition produced more negative perceptions. It was concluded that inducing empathy was a powerful mechanism in improving stigma towards substance misusers and it was suggested that this mechanism could be endorsed by media outlets and the health service to alter attitudes towards this group, as well as reducing feelings

Impact and Reach

Statistics

Downloads
Activity Overview
399Downloads
355Hits

Additional statistics for this dataset are available via IRStats2.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item