Impact of Prejudice on Caregivers of People with Mental Illness in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya

Caroline. A. Ombok, Joram Kareithi, Donald Wandere


Negative beliefs and preconceived opinions on mental illness, which are not based on reason or actual experience, play a significant role in determining treatment and health-seeking behaviour by caregivers of people with mental illness. This paper assesses the influence of prejudice on caregivers of people with mental illness in Uasin Gishu County. The study was anchored on the health-seeking behavior theory and targeted 480 respondents drawn from Uasin Gishu County. This was achieved through purposive sampling. Data from the caregivers was collected using a structured questionnaire and focus group discussions, while data from health care providers was collected using an interview schedule. Data from the questionnaire was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics, while data from the focus group discussions and interviews used themes. The study revealed that prejudice (b=-0.332, þ<0.05), had negative and significant influences on health-seeking behavior of caregivers. The study concluded that prejudice was an element of the cultural construction of mental illness that negatively influenced health-seeking behavior among caregivers of people with mental illness. It is recommended that future studies should seek to use data collection approaches that integrate feelings and emotions of the people who have mental illness in addition to widening the geographical scope of the study.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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