Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Social Work

Degree Name



Social Work and Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Lyle


The purpose of this study was to compare the attitudes of medical social workers (MSWS) and mental health social workers (MHSWs) toward mental illness. The sample consisted of 87 subjects, 56 MSWs and 31 NHSWs. The instrument utilized was the Opinions About Mental Illness Scale which measured five attitudinal factors: Authoritarianism, Benevolence, Mental Hygiene Ideology, Social Restrictiveness and Interpersonal Etiology. Data was analyzed, using Pearson’s r. No significant differences were found on the Authoritarianism dimension. However, MSWs scored higher on Benevolence, Mental Hygiene Ideology, Social Restrictiveness, and Interpersonal Etiology as compared to MHSWs. One of the most significant implications was that the clinical environment should be less physically and socially restrictive so that the patient would not feel as though s/he was in prison and had committed a crime.

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