The utility of the Illness Perception Questionnaire in the evaluation of mental health practitioners' perspectives on patients with schizophrenia

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Rationale, aims, objectivesThe Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ) was designed as a measure of illness perception and has been used extensively for measuring the perceptions of people with physical illness. Latterly modified versions of the IPQ have been used to measure the illness perceptions of people with mental health problems and their carers. This study examined the utility of a modified version of the IPQ to measure changes in mental health practitioners' illness perceptions about schizophrenia after undertaking psychosocial intervention training.MethodA total of 245 mental health practitioners who undertook psychosocial intervention training completed a modified version of the IPQ before and after training. The structure of the questionnaire was tested using confirmatory factor analysis. The internal consistency of sub-scales embedded in the instrument was also examined.ResultsThe hypothesized structure failed to account for the data. Model fit indices revealed a poor fit to the data across all models evaluated. Cronbach's alpha revealed a number of sub-scales in the instrument to have mediocre internal consistency characteristics.ConclusionsThe modified version of the IPQ is not suitable for evaluating the impact of psychosocial intervention training on changes in illness perceptions of schizophrenia in mental health practitioners. However, the study has highlighted the need to develop a valid and reliable measure to assess the illness perceptions health professionals have of patients in their care.

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