Perceptions of learning disability nurses and support staff towards people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia

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Accessible summary

What is known about the subject?

What this study/paper adds to existing knowledge?

What are the implications for clinical practice?

Background and purpose of study:

The prevalence of schizophrenia in people with learning disability is 3–4%. This is the first study to investigate the illness perceptions of learning disability (LD) practitioners towards people with schizophrenia.


Learning disability practitioners (n = 210) that work with people with LD and schizophrenia completed a modified version of the Illness Perception Questionnaire Schizophrenia Carers Version (IPQ-SCV). Descriptive and correlational analyses were conducted for all of the IPQ-SCV subscales.


A significant positive correlation was found between consequences relative and consequences patient (0.495, P < 0.001), and a negative correlation was found between timeline episodic and timeline chronic (−0.243, P < 0.001) subscales.


Consistent with previous evidence found regarding negative staff attitudes to schizophrenia recovery outcomes, course and chronicity, the current investigation has extended and confirmed these observations to staff working with individuals with comorbid schizophrenia and learning disability.

Implications for practice:

This study identifies the nature of LD practitioner perceptions about schizophrenia and contributes to the development of the recovery philosophy in relation to the management of LD and schizophrenia. The findings inform the design of training modules in bio-psycho-social models of schizophrenia, recovery approaches, family intervention, clinical supervision and reflection. These can help LD practitioners to reframe their schizophrenia/LD illness beliefs.

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