In a non-experimental descriptive-comparative study with correlational components, the relationship of educational and employment experience in psychiatric nursing to the attitudes of psychiatric nursing students and graduates toward mental illness was investigated. The first sample consisted of eight female students enrolled in the second year of a Registered Psychiatric Nursing program in a province in western Canada. The second sample consisted of 10 female graduates of the same program who had been employed in psychiatric settings for up to two years after completion of the program.

The study included a pretest-post-test design for the first sample and a one-time test design for the second sample. Using the Opinions About Mental Illness (OMI) scale, data were collected through the mail.

Following a 14-week course in psychiatric nursing, the students did not demonstrate significant changes in their attitude scores. However, the direction of change in attitudes toward mental illness was positive on all subscales. The graduates demonstrated more negative attitudes toward mental illness when comparing their attitude scores with the post-test results of the students. These differences were not significant except for mental hygiene ideology. There was no significant correlation between length of employment experience in psychiatric settings and attitude scores of the graduates. However, test results Indicated a tendency to ward lower scores for mental hygiene Ideology and higher scores for social restrictiveness when correlated with time. The findings of the study cannot be generalized to Include the entire population of psychiatric nursing students and graduates. However, the direction of change In attitudes of students and graduates following educational and employment experience In psychiatric settings suggests implications for both education and practice and a need for more extensive Investigation.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Katty Joy French

Second Advisor

Vern Andress

Third Advisor

Frances P. Miller

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Psychiatric Nursing



Page Count

ix; 142

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives