Attitudes of adolescents towards mental illness: A comparison between Hong Kong and Guangzhou samples

Kai Fong Chan, Petrus Y N NG

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper compares the findings of surveys about the attitudes of adolescent towards mental illness in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. A total of 2,223 secondary school students from Hong Kong and 1,796 middle school students from Guangzhou were drawn by multi-stage sampling method. Subjects were asked to complete a 45-item questionnaire on Opinion about Mental Illness in Chinese Community (OMICC) with a six-point Likert scale. Individual items with weak correlation were eliminated, leaving 33 items for the Hong Kong sample (Cronbach's Alpha =.866) and 29 for the Guangzhou sample (Cronbach's Alpha=.811). Five common factors were identified in the two places for comparison. Univariate t-tests showed that the sources of mental health knowledge of adolescents in the two places were different. Significant differences between the attitudes of the adolescents in the two places for the five factors (p<.001) were found. Using Chi-square tests, six items revealing significant differences (p<.001) greater than 50% between responses of agreement and disagreement in the two places were identified. It is clear that adolescents in Hong Kong are more open, humanistic and accepting of people with mental illness. This paper also discusses the differences with reference to the political and socio-cultural contexts of the two places and suggests ways to help adolescents develop more positive attitudes toward people with mental illness, which in turn will foster community integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-176
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

User-Defined Keywords

  • adolescents
  • attitudes
  • community integration
  • mental illness


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