The Relationship Between Causal Beliefs and Stigma of Mental Illness

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Andrea Maxwell (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: This study extended previous research by Read and Harré (2001) and Dietrich and colleagues (2004) examining the relation between causality of mental illness and desire for social distance, as well as, the relationship between type of mental disorder and desires for social distance. Students read an information sheet describing mental illness as either biological or psychosocial in nature. Students then answered questions regarding social distance they would desire if they were in the presence of a person having either symptoms of schizophrenia or depression. Unlike previous research, no relationship was found between causality and desire for social distance. However, a relationship was found between desire for social distance and type of disorder described, with participants desiring greater social distance from the person described as having symptoms of schizophrenia. These results indicate that national campaigns to educate the public about a biological causality of mental illness in order to reduce stigma may not be an effective approach.  

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Date: 1905

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