Does labeling matter? An examination of attitudes and perceptions of labels for mental disorders.
ABSTRACT PURPOSE: Labeling research in various domains has found that attitudes and perceptions vary as a function of the different labels ascribed to a group (e.g., overweight vs. obese). This type of research, however, has not been examined extensively in regards to labels for mental disorders. The present study examined whether common psychiatric labels (i.e., mental disease, mental disorders, mental health problems, and mental illness) elicited divergent attitudes and perceptions in a group of participants. These labels were also compared to the specific label of depression. METHODS: Undergraduate psychology students (N = 124) were given identical questionnaire packages with the exception of the label used. That is, each participant received a set of questionnaires that referred to only one of the five labels. The questionnaire package contained various quantitative measures of attitudes and social distance, in addition to a short qualitative measure. RESULTS: Analyses demonstrated equivalence among the four general psychiatric labels on measures of attitudes, social distance, and general perceptions. However, results also suggested that the general labels diverged from the depression label, with the latter being generally more negatively perceived. Some analyses demonstrated that participants' understanding of the terminology might be incorrect. The results of the investigation are discussed with a focus on its relationship with current research in stigma. CONCLUSION: Within the current sample, general psychiatric labels did not appear to distinguish themselves from each other on measures of attitude and social distance but did so when compared to a relatively more specific term. Future research should examine the underlying mechanism driving this finding, with the ultimate goal of reducing the stigma faced by those with mental disorders.
SourceAvailable from: Geeta Modgill[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: To summarize the ongoing activities of the Opening Minds (OM) Anti-Stigma Initiative of the Mental Health Commission of Canada regarding the 4 groups targeted (youth, health care providers, media, and workplaces), highlight some of the key methodological challenges, and review lessons learned. The approach used by OM is rooted in community development philosophy, with clearly defined target groups, contact-based education as the central organizing element across interventions, and a strong evaluative component so that best practices can be identified, replicated, and disseminated. Contact-based education occurs when people who have experienced a mental illness share their personal story of recovery and hope. Results have been generally positive. Contact-based education has the capacity to reduce prejudicial attitudes and improve social acceptance of people with a mental illness across various target groups and sectors. Variations in program outcomes have contributed to our understanding of active ingredients. Contact-based education has become a cornerstone of the OM approach to stigma reduction. A story of hope and recovery told by someone who has experienced a mental illness is powerful and engaging, and a critical ingredient in the fight against stigma. Building partnerships with existing community programs and promoting systematic evaluation using standardized approaches and instruments have contributed to our understanding of best practices in the field of anti-stigma programming. The next challenge will be to scale these up so that they may have a national impact.Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie 10/2014; 59(1):S13-S18. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The debate about psychiatric nosology was reignited last year when the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) was published to widespread criticism. Critics cite a number of problems with ‘psychiatric diagnosis’, though it is sometimes unclear which classificatory practices are included under this broad heading. Although it may be possible to avoid the problems inherent in the DSM system, other difficulties associated with classification (labelling, stigma) may prove harder to escape. The first part of this article argues that some form of psychiatric classification is made inevitable by the communicative, epistemic and ethical pressures on psychiatry. In the second half it is suggested that there are ways to think differently about our relationship to psychiatric classification, and that these could play a role in mitigating the harms outlined by diagnosis’ critics.Social Theory & Health 11/2014; 12(4). DOI:10.1057/sth.2014.11 · 0.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Studies on the association between psychopathology, perceived public stigma, and labeling in mental illness have focused primarily on severe but rare mental disorders, especially schizophrenia, or other clinically defined psychotic disorders. Although evidence is mounting that psychosis-like experiences show high prevalence in the general population and lead to an increased risk of psychotic disorders, little is known about how psychosis-like experiences independently affect perceived public stigma in the non-clinical population. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between psychosis-like experiences and perceived public stigma in a non-clinical sample.Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 07/2014; DOI:10.1007/s00127-014-0929-6 · 2.58 Impact Factor