NEW UPDATE: Completed trials may now upload and register supplementary documents (e.g. null results reports, populated pre-analysis plans, or post-trial results reports) in the Post Trial section under Reports, Papers, & Other Materials.
Effectiveness of social contact and educational intervention on reducing mental health stigma in university students
Initial registration date
July 10, 2017
July 13, 2017 4:48 PM EDT
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of a social contact and education intervention to improve attitudes to mental illness in first-year social work students (Universitat de Barcelona). This is a three-month cluster randomized controlled trial with two parallel arms: intervention and control group. The students will be divided into eight classes which will be randomized in a 1:1 ratio to the intervention group and control group. The intervention is a workshop led by an OBERTAMENT activist (a person with a mental illness trained in communication skills and empowerment by a social worker). We assess intended future behaviour toward people with mental illness (RIBS), personal and perceived stigma (DSS), and mental-health related attitudes (CAMI). Baseline comparability between groups will be assessed using chi-square tests, Fisher's exact test or Student's t-test. Missing data will be imputed using multiple imputation with chained equations. Differences between groups will be assessed using multivariate lineal regression models.
Juncosa Roman, Miquel. 2017. "Effectiveness of social contact and educational intervention on reducing mental health stigma in university students." AEA RCT Registry. July 13.
The intervention consists of a one-hour workshop led by an OBERTAMENT activist (“OBERTAMENT Webpage-Activists”). These activists are people with a mental illness who have received a nine training sessions with a social worker to improve their communication skills and empowerment.
First, the activists briefly describes the OBERTAMENT project and its objectives and students are invited to participate in a dynamic group conversation to estimate and discuss the high prevalence of mental health problems. The key message is: "According to the WHO, one in four people will have a mental health disorder during life”. Next, the activists offer a lecture focused on mental health, mental health problems diagnoses, stigma, discrimination and social exclusion. The OBERTAMENT advertisements that had been used during the 2012 social-marketing campaign are used as a didactical tool. Following this, activists give a first person account of how they coped with mental ill-health and describe how discrimination had affected them throughout their life. Students are invited to ask the activists questions and they are provided with information on family support organizations. Finally, conclusions from students are shared and the activists conclude the workshop with a motivational reflection: “having a positive attitude to people with mental your future professional work". The control group is a wait list group of students; the only difference between groups is the timing of the contact and education workshop. Students in the control group classes will receive the intervention after the last follow-up evaluation.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Intended behaviour, Personal and perceived stigma and Attitudes
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Students will be clustered in classes and assessed in three evaluations: baseline (before the intervention), postintervention (15 days later), and follow-up (3 months after the intervention). Data will be collected in the classrooms through a paper and pencil self-reported questionnaire.
Experimental Design Details
Cluster randomization by coin flip.
Clusters in university classes.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
4 classes in intervention and 54 classes in control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
Post Trial Information
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
May 29, 2014, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
May 29, 2014, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a social contact and education intervention to improve attitudes to mental illness in first-year social work students. This was a 3-month cluster randomized controlled trial with two parallel arms: intervention (87) and control group (79). The intervention was a workshop led by an OBERTAMENT activist (a person with a mental illness trained in communication skills and empowerment by a social worker). We assessed intended future behavior toward people with mental illness, personal and perceived stigma, and mental health–related attitudes (self-reported questionnaire). The intervention improved social work students’ attitudes (d ≈ 0.50, p < .05) and reduced personal stigma toward people with mental illness (d = 0.35, p = .04) as well as improving their future intended behavior 2 weeks after the intervention (d = 0.51, p = .01). The intervention impact on authoritarian attitudes toward people with schizophrenia was maintained after 3 months (d = 0.94, p = .01). Long-term impact needs to be improved.
Rubio-Valera M, Aznar-Lou I, Vives-Collet M, Fernández A, Gil-Girbau M, Serrano-Blanco A. Reducing the Mental Health-Related Stigma of Social Work Students: A Cluster RCT. Research on Social Work Practice. Apr 2016.
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS