Factors Affecting Mental Patients’ Behaviors and Attitudes Regarding Smoking

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Director of Nursing, General Hospital, Asklipieion Voulas, Athens, Greece.

2 University of Peloponnese, Corinth, Athens, Greece.

3 Department of Nursing ATEI of Thessaloniki, Athens, Greece.

4 General Hospital of Korinthos, Athens, Greece.

5 5Department of Social and Educational Policy, University of Peloponnese, Greece.

6 Nursing Department, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.


Background: Patients with mental health problems are in high risk to develop addiction, since smoking incidence is three times higher than that of the general population. The aim of the study was to investigate the factors affecting mental health patients’ smoking habits. Methods: The sample of study were 356 patients out of 403 initially approached, with 142 hospitalized in hospital facilities and 214 in community settings. The «Smoking in psychiatric hospitals" and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) questionnaires were used. A principal component analysis was performed using the correlation coefficients of the various variables and an orthogonal varimax rotation, in order to interpret the seven factors emerging. Among the variables the most important factors appeared to be the type of healthcare facility, legal status, depression and age. Results: The type of healthcare facility was correlated to demographic characteristics, clinical features, psychopathology and functionality, but also to the attitudes and behaviors related to smoking. More specifically, the in-hospital patients were heavier smokers, about 90% of the patients said they would consider quitting smoking. The various variables had only a small effect on the intention to quit smoking. The comparison of the coefficients of determination of each variable, showed that age had the strongest effect (R2=0.152), while the GHQ D subscale (severe depression) had the least significant effect (R2=0.023). From all (7) factors, it appears that hospitalization was positively correlated with factor 5 and negatively with the factors 2, 3 and 6, legal status (commitment order) negatively with factors 1 and 4, while depression (or consuming antidepressants) positively factor 4 and negatively to factors 1 and 3. Finally, age was the only variable that is associated with the agent 7. Conclusions: Patients are permissive to staff’s smoking in the healthcare facility and may resist attempts to restrict it. It is important that these conclusions are taken into account in any systematic attempt to limit smoking within mental health settings.


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