A comparison of stigmatizing attitudes toward persons with schizophrenia in four stakeholder groups: perceived likelihood of violence and desire for social distance.

Services Effectiveness Research Program, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3071, 905 W. Main Street, Ste 23A, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Psychiatry Interpersonal & Biological Processes (Impact Factor: 3.18). 02/2005; 68(2):152-63. DOI: 10.1521/psyc.2005.68.2.152
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study compared four stakeholder groups regarding the presence of stigmatizing attitudes toward a hypothetical person diagnosed with schizophrenia. Participants included consumers with schizophrenia (n = 104), family members of those with schizophrenia or other severe mental illness (n = 83), mental health clinicians (n = 85), and members of the general public (n = 59); all participants resided in North Carolina. The purpose of the analyses was to investigate whether mental health stakeholder groups differed from the general public and from each other in terms of key attitudes associated with stigmatization of persons with schizophrenia, that is, perceived likelihood of violent behavior, the desire for social distance, and the causes of the illness. Analysis of variance results with follow-up Scheffé tests indicated no statistically significant differences between the mental health stakeholder groups and members of the general public in the likelihood of violence or the desire for social distance. However, there was more variation between both the mental health stakeholder groups and the general public and within the mental health stakeholder groups in the perceptions of the causes of the mental illness. Throughout the analyses, the consumers tended to have the most negative views of the illness. Implications for future stigma research and education are discussed.

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