Cross-Sectional Study of Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) towards Mental Illnesses among University Students in Lebanon
Purpose: Society tends to accord greater importance to biological illnesses, in comparison to mental disorders. In Lebanon, a gap was observed in the knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) towards mental disorders. We aimed to assess the KAP regarding mental illnesses among university students and to compare their outlook based on socio-demographic characteristics, educational factors and previous exposure to mental disorders.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among Lebanese university students. A questionnaire was filled by 598 students. KAP were assessed by separate sets of questions for two categories of disorders: anxiety and depression (AD) and schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (SBD). The questionnaire consisted of 4 sections with 5 possible answers to choose from. A mean score was generated for each of the 4 sections.
Results: The mean age of students was 20.9 (±2.1). The mean scores for the “Causes” of AD and SBD were 3.1 (±0.57) and 3.3 (±0.6), respectively. The average scores for the “Knowledge” of AD and SBD were 3.6 (±0.7) and 3.4 (±0.7), respectively. As for the “Attitude”, the average scores were 3.6 (±0.6) for AD and 3.4 (±0.6) for SBD. In relation to “Practice”, the mean scores for AD were 3.2 (±0.5), and 3.2 (±0.4) for SBD. Factors as “Health” field of study, higher educational level, female gender and previous exposure to mentally ill patients were found to be associated with higher scores in KAP.
Conclusion: Better educational plans are needed in Lebanon to further increase society’s general understanding and management of mental disorders.