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Mental Health Literacy Affects Mental Health Attitude: Is There a Gender Difference?

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Objectives: In the current study, we aimed to compare the levels of and factors associated with mental health attitude between males and females. Of particular interest was ascertaining the degree to which mental health literacy was related to mental health attitude and whether this relationship would vary by gender. Methods: A total of 732 participants aged 18 years or more were recruited from attendees at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair. We used the Mental Health Literacy Scale (MHLS) to measure attitude toward and literacy of mental health. Results: Our multivariate analysis reported that males' mental health attitude was significantly lower than females. Some factors associated with mental health attitude differed by gender as well. Among men, receiving more social support, experiencing higher levels of depression, and being married predicted greater mental health attitude. Among women, older age was associated with lower mental health attitude levels. However, mental health literacy was the strongest factor regardless of gender. Men and women with greater mental health literacy had a more positive mental health attitude. Conclusions: Provision of tailored mental health literacy education both for males and females could potentially improve the public's mental health attitude toward mental illness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Hee Yun Lee, Professor, Endowed Academic Chair on Social Work (Health), and Associate Dean for Research, University of Alabama School of Social Work, Tuscaloosa, AL;, Email: [email protected] 2: Junseon Hwang, Masters Student, Forensic Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, NY 3: Jennifer G. Ball, Assistant Professor, Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication, Philadelphia, PA 4: Jongwook Lee, Research Associate, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN 5: Youngmi Yu, Associate Professor, Pusan National University School of Social Welfare, Pusan, South Korea 6: David L. Albright, Professor, Hill Crest Foundation Endowed Chair in Mental Health, University of Alabama School of Social Work, Tuscaloosa, AL

Publication date: May 1, 2020

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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