Knowledge, Attitude and Willingness to Interact With Mentally Ill People Among In-School Adolescents in the Four Wollega Zonal Towns


  • Bersissa Adugna
  • Tadele Getu


: Attitude, Knowledge, Mental illness, In-school Adolescents


This study examined the knowledge, attitude and willingness to interact with mentally ill people among
in-school adolescents. Participants of the study comprised 359 adolescents who were in secondary and
preparatory schools in the four Wollega zonal towns. From each zonal town, two schools (one
secondary and one preparatory) were randomly selected; hence, 4 secondary and 4 preparatory
schools were included in the study. The survey consisting of three measures constructed to assess
adolescents’ knowledge, attitude, and willingness to interact with mentally ill people were adapted and
used. Descriptive statistics, mainly frequency and percentage, were used in the analysis. The result
revealed that in-school adolescents’ knowledge of mental illness is inconsistent. They were informed
well about the inappropriate treatment and representation of people with mental illnesses. However,
their knowledge is poor in other areas. Attitudes expressed toward mentally ill people among these
adolescents were also mixed; some of the adolescents said accepting, respectful, and sympathetic views
toward people with mental illness. Still, large proportions of the adolescents were fearful of
approaching and being a friend of mtheentally ill person. Social distance results revealed positive
attitude by majority of the respondents and less accepting views by a few. It is therefore recommended
that the four Wollega Zonal towns health offices need to educate adolescents regarding specific
disorders and about acceptance of individuals with mental illness.