The Filipino Concept of Mental Illness and Nurses’ Attitudes: A Scoping Review


  • Rica Rose May A. Rubio Western Mindanao State University College of Nursing, Zamboanga City, 7000 Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines



Negative attitudes can arise from not recognizing the influence of culture among nurses caring for patients with mental problems. Although nurses' attitudes toward these patients have been extensively studied, few involve Filipino nurses. This scoping review provides an overview of the perception of mental illness in Filipino culture, along with the attitudes of the Filipino nurses towards dealing with patients with mental health issues. From July to December 2022, searches were made in the databases of Google Scholar, PubMed, and PsychInfo, and the reference lists of identified articles were guided by the PRISMA-ScR. Twenty-one articles met the inclusion criteria. The review showed mental illnesses implicate the role of cultural beliefs on supernatural beings, curses, retribution from God, imbalance between hot and cold elements, spirit possession, softness in character, engaging in evil acts, family, shame, and saving face, which can lead to stigmatization of patients with mental illness (n = 18), and the attitudes of Filipino nurses towards these patients were also shown but were not conclusive (n = 3). Hence, it is recommended that further studies on Filipino culture and mental health nursing and on the experiences of Filipino nurses in caring for patients with mental illnesses, the influence of religion, spirituality, and family, and somatization of mental distress is necessary. Emphasis on filial piety as a framework for future research on the mental illness of Filipinos is recommended because the family can both be a source of mental distress and a source of personal strength in overcoming stigma. In addition, this review can be used to improve the quality of nursing care and perform mental health care training and education programs to reduce mental illness stigma in the Philippines.


Filipino Culture, Mental Health, Nursing, Stigma


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How to Cite

Rubio , R. R. M. A. (2023). The Filipino Concept of Mental Illness and Nurses’ Attitudes: A Scoping Review . The Malaysian Journal of Nursing (MJN), 15(1), 126-137.