Mental health stigma among university health care students in nigeria: A cross-sectional observational study

Aderonke Bamgbose Pederson*, Inger Burnett-Zeigler, Joyce Konadu Fokuo, Katherine Leah Wisner, Katelyn Zumpf, Yewande Oshodi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: stigma is a key barrier to access and utilization of mental health services, particularly in low-and middle-income countries. The authors explore the specific content of mental health stigma among Nigerian university health care students at a national teaching hospital. These students are key stakeholders and represent a vital demographic to engage in stigma reduction initiatives. We evaluated the extent to which demographic characteristics, mood symptoms and utilization of resources are associated with stigma. Methods: the authors examined data obtained from surveys completed by university health care students (N = 82) at Lagos University teaching hospital. Surveys assessed demographic background, mood symptoms and use of mental health services. Simple linear regression was used to model the unadjusted association between each component variable and overall stigma score. All analyses were conducted using R (version 3.5.3, 2019, The R Foundation) and assumed a two-sided, 5% level of significance. Results: being a member of the minority ethnic group within our study population was associated with increased stigma. Individuals having greater need for mental health services (due to mood symptoms) were associated with increased stigma. Willingness to use medical services and community support from family and friends was associated with lower stigma. Religious themes were prominent among the majority of respondents. Conclusion: consideration of the content details of stigma among university health care students in Nigeria is essential to inform interventions and strategies to reduce stigma within this subgroup. Those students who have symptoms of depression or anxiety may have lower utilization of mental health services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPan African Medical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • African
  • Mental health
  • Religion
  • Stigma
  • University students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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