Improving the mental health of a patient can come down to how he or she perceives themselves. In other words, building the self-esteem of a patient is critical for treating them, claims the first study of its kind.
The findings of the study suggest that youth with psychiatric disorders, currently receiving inpatient services, reported lower self-concept (idea of self constructed beliefs one holds about oneself), particularly global self-worth, compared to those receiving outpatient services.
“This was the first study that examined youth with psychiatric disorder by comparing what type of service they were receiving and whether that was associated with self-concept,” said Mark Ferro.
“We know that global self-worth is lower in the inpatient group and we know from other research that lower self-concept is a precursor to other more serious mental health problems.”
Self-concept might be an important aspect to consider when implementing treatment programs to improve the mental health of youth who are hospitalised.
The study examined 47 youth aged 8-17 years who were receiving inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services at McMaster’s Children Hospital in Hamilton. The participants’ self-concept was measured using the Self-Perception Profile for Children and Adolescents.
“Because youths who are in the inpatient service have a lower self-concept, therapies within their overall treatment program aiming to improve self-worth might be worthwhile,” Ferro said.
“Interventions to improve an individual’s self-concept or self-perception would be complementary to some of the more pressing needs within child and youth inpatient psychiatric services.”
The study has been published in the Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.