Matthias C Angermeyer

Università degli studi di Cagliari, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

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Publications (607)1491.47 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The desire for social distance towards individuals with obesity as part of the stigmatization process has not been investigated. The aims of this study include: (a) determining the prevalence of social distance and its domains in a population-based sample; (b) reporting levels of emotional response; and (c) investigating the association of BMI, emotional response and social distance. The data were derived from a large population based telephone survey in Germany (total n = 3,003, this sub-sample n = 1008). Emotional response to individuals with obesity was assessed for the emotions discomfort, pity, insecurity, amusement, sympathy, help and incomprehension (5-point Likert scale). Social distance was measured on a 5-point Likert scale covering different areas of social interaction. This served as the dependent variable for a linear regression model and mediation models that included BMI and emotional response. Social distance was highest for job recommendation, introduction to a friend, someone with obesity marrying into the family and renting out a room. Means of emotional responses were highest for pity (Mean = 2.58), sympathy (Mean = 2.87) and wanting to help (M = 2.76). In regression analyses, incomprehension (b = 1.095, p < 0.001) and sympathy (b = −0.833, p < 0.001) and the respondents' own BMI (b = −0.145, p < 0.001) were significantly associated to the overall amount of social distance. Mediation models revealed a significant mediation effect of BMI through sympathy (b = −0.229, % of total effect through mediation = 10.3%) and through incomprehension (b = −0.057, % of total effect through mediation = 27.5%) on social distance.
    Social Science & Medicine. 03/2015; 128.
  • Johannes Bahlmann, Georg Schomerus, Matthias C Angermeyer
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This study examined illness beliefs of the lay public associated with the diagnostic labels burnout and depression. Methods: Representative population survey in Germany 2011, using unlabelled case vignettes of a person suffering from depression. Following presentation of the vignette, respondents were asked openly how they would call the problem described. Agreement with various illness beliefs was elicited with Likert-scaled items. Results: Seeing the problem as inherited predicted use of the label depression (OR 1.29, p < 0.001), while stress at work as a perceived cause was associated with use of the label burnout (OR 1.56, p < 0.001). Belief that the problem described resembled everyday experiences (belief in a symptom continuum) also predicted using the label burnout instead of depression (OR 1.31, p < 0.05). Conclusion: Although overlapping with beliefs about depression, the diagnostic label burnout is also associated with specific illness beliefs among the general public. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.
    Psychiatrische Praxis 12/2014; · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regardless of the respondents’ sex, age emerges as significant predictor of desire for social distance from individuals with either anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulimia nervosa (BN)•Women’s desire for social distance from individuals with BN is significantly predicted by the attribution of weak will (emphasizing a blame-based stigma)•Men’s desire for social distance from individuals with BN is significantly predicted by the attribution of brain disease•The contact theory, which proposes that stigma can be reduced via personal contact to individuals afflicted, only holds true for female respondents in our sample
    Eating Behaviors 11/2014; · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose of the study is to investigate helpseeking preferences of the Sardinian public in case of depression. A telephone survey was conducted among the adult population, using quota sampling (N = 1,200). Respondents were presented with a vignette depicting a person with symptoms of major depressive disorder, followed by a fully structured interview. Psychologists were most frequently selected as source of professional help, followed by psychiatrists and G.P.s. Residents of small towns more frequently recommended mental health professionals than city residents. Public help-seeking preferences reflect the availability of services, beliefs about the appropriate treatment of depression and attitudes towards those providing it.
    Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research 10/2014; · 3.44 Impact Factor
  • Mauro G Carta, Matthias C Angermeyer
    Culture Medicine and Psychiatry 10/2014; · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    Georg Schomerus, Herbert Matschinger, Matthias C Angermeyer
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Alcohol dependence is among the most severely stigmatized mental disorders. We examine whether negative stereotypes and illness beliefs related to alcohol dependence have changed between 1990 and 2011. Methods: We used data from two population surveys with identical methodology that were conducted among German citizens aged ≥18 years, living in the 'old' German states. They were conducted in 1990 and 2011, respectively. In random subsamples (1990: n = 1,022, and 2011: n = 1,167), identical questions elicited agreement with statements regarding alcohol dependence, particularly with regard to the illness definition of alcohol dependence and blame. Results: Overall, agreement with negative stereotypes did not change in the course of 2 decades. About 55% of the respondents agreed that alcohol dependence is an illness like any other, >40% stated that it was a weakness of character and 30% endorsed that those affected are themselves to blame for their problems. Conclusions: It is apparent that promoting an illness concept of alcohol dependence has not been an easy solution to the problem of stigma. We discuss how the normative functions of alcohol dependence stigma might have prevented a reduction of negative stereotypes. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    European Addiction Research 10/2014; 20(6):293-299. · 2.07 Impact Factor
  • Sven Speerforck, Georg Schomerus, Susanne Pruess, Matthias C. Angermeyer
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    ABSTRACT: Objective It is unclear whether different biogenetic causal beliefs affect stigmatization of mentally-ill patients differently. It has been argued that in particular believing in a ‘chemical imbalance’ as a cause of mental disorder might be associated with more tolerant attitudes. Method In a representative population survey in Germany (n=3642), using unlabelled case vignettes of persons with depression, schizophrenia, or alcohol dependence, we elicited agreement with three different biogenetic explanations of the illness: ‘Chemical imbalance of the brain’, ‘brain disease’ and ‘heredity’. We further investigated emotional reactions as well as the desire for social distance. For each vignette condition we calculated linear regressions with each biogenetic explanation as independent and emotional reactions as well as social distance as dependent variable controlling for socio-demographic variables. Limitations Our cross-sectional study does not allow statements regarding causality and the explanatory power of our statistical models was low. Results ‘Chemical imbalance of the brain’ and ‘brain disease’ were both associated with a stronger desire for social distance in schizophrenia and depression, and with more social acceptance in alcohol dependence, whereas ‘heredity’ was not significantly associated with social distance in any of the investigated illnesses. All three biogenetic causal beliefs were associated with more fear in all three illnesses. Conclusion Our study corroborates findings that biogenetic explanations have different effects in different disorders, and seem to be harmful in depression and schizophrenia. A particular de-stigmatizing potential of the causal belief ‘chemical imbalance’ could not be found. Implications for useful anti-stigma messages are discussed.
    Journal of Affective Disorders 10/2014; 168:224–228. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should be one of the most preventable mental disorders, since many people exposed to traumatic experiences (TEs) could be targeted in first response settings in the immediate aftermath of exposure for preventive intervention. However, these interventions are costly and the proportion of TE-exposed people who develop PTSD is small. To be cost-effective, risk prediction rules are needed to target high-risk people in the immediate aftermath of a TE. Although a number of studies have been carried out to examine prospective predictors of PTSD among people recently exposed to TEs, most were either small or focused on a narrow sample, making it unclear how well PTSD can be predicted in the total population of people exposed to TEs. The current report investigates this issue in a large sample based on the World Health Organization (WHO)'s World Mental Health Surveys. Retrospective reports were obtained on the predictors of PTSD associated with 47,466 TE exposures in representative community surveys carried out in 24 countries. Machine learning methods (random forests, penalized regression, super learner) were used to develop a model predicting PTSD from information about TE type, socio-demographics, and prior histories of cumulative TE exposure and DSM-IV disorders. DSM-IV PTSD prevalence was 4.0% across the 47,466 TE exposures. 95.6% of these PTSD cases were associated with the 10.0% of exposures (i.e., 4,747) classified by machine learning algorithm as having highest predicted PTSD risk. The 47,466 exposures were divided into 20 ventiles (20 groups of equal size) ranked by predicted PTSD risk. PTSD occurred after 56.3% of the TEs in the highest-risk ventile, 20.0% of the TEs in the second highest ventile, and 0.0-1.3% of the TEs in the 18 remaining ventiles. These patterns of differential risk were quite stable across demographic-geographic sub-samples. These results demonstrate that a sensitive risk algorithm can be created using data collected in the immediate aftermath of TE exposure to target people at highest risk of PTSD. However, validation of the algorithm is needed in prospective samples, and additional work is warranted to refine the algorithm both in terms of determining a minimum required predictor set and developing a practical administration and scoring protocol that can be used in routine clinical practice.
    World Psychiatry. 10/2014; 13(3):265-274.
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    World psychiatry: official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) 10/2014; 13(3). · 12.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background and objectives Associations between asthma and anxiety and mood disorders are well established, but little is known about their temporal sequence. We examined associations between a wide range of DSM-IV mental disorders with adult onset of asthma and whether observed associations remain after mental comorbidity adjustments. Methods During face-to-face household surveys in community-dwelling adults (n = 52,095) of 19 countries, the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview retrospectively assessed lifetime prevalence and age at onset of 16 DSM-IV mental disorders. Asthma was assessed by self-report of physician's diagnosis together with age of onset. Survival analyses estimated associations between first onset of mental disorders and subsequent adult onset asthma, without and with comorbidity adjustment. Results 1860 adult onset (21 years+) asthma cases were identified, representing a total of 2,096,486 person-years of follow up. After adjustment for comorbid mental disorders several mental disorders were associated with subsequent adult asthma onset: bipolar (OR = 1.8; 95%CI 1.3–2.5), panic (OR = 1.4; 95%CI 1.0–2.0), generalized anxiety (OR = 1.3; 95%CI 1.1–1.7), specific phobia (OR = 1.3; 95%CI 1.1–1.6); post-traumatic stress (OR = 1.5; 95%CI 1.1–1.9); binge eating (OR = 1.8; 95%CI 1.2–2.9) and alcohol abuse (OR = 1.5; 95%CI 1.1–2.0). Mental comorbidity linearly increased the association with adult asthma. The association with subsequent asthma was stronger for mental disorders with an early onset (before age 21). Conclusions A wide range of temporally prior mental disorders are significantly associated with subsequent onset of asthma in adulthood. The extent to which asthma can be avoided or improved among those with early mental disorders deserves study. Keywords: Asthma, Mental disorders, Population, Epidemiology, Chronic disease, Comorbidity
    Journal of Psychiatric Research 09/2014; · 4.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we aimed to analyze the association between new-incident-subjective memory complaints (SMC) and risk of subsequent dementia in a general population sample aged 75+ years.
    Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 09/2014; · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alcohol dependence is a severely stigmatized disorder. Perceived stigma may deter help-seeking and is associated with higher co-morbidity and self-stigma in persons with alcohol dependence. We assess changes in the perception of alcohol-related stigma over 21 years in the general population.
    Drug and Alcohol Dependence 08/2014; · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is not much known about the associations of beliefs about depression (depression literacy) with a history of depression and treatment experience.
    Journal of Affective Disorders 08/2014; 164C:28-32. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using population-based data, the relationship between biogenetic causal beliefs and emotional reactions to persons with schizophrenia or depression was examined. Biogenetic attributions elicited either negative emotions alone or pro-social and negative emotions at the same time. Biogenetic attributions seem not helpful for improving emotional reactions to people with mental disorders.
    Psychiatry Research 07/2014; · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Whether mental disorders should be considered as categorical or dimensional has found increasing attention among mental health professionals. Only little is known about what the public thinks about this issue.
    International Journal of Social Psychiatry 07/2014; · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives of the study and background. Schizophrenia is a complex disease that affects 1% of the population. This disease has a considerable impact not only on patients’ health and well-being but also on their surrounding environment. The costs of the disease’s management remain large for individuals and society. While literature on the economic impact of schizophrenia is abundant, few studies have focused on its humanistic burden. This does not only concern patients, but also caregivers, relatives, neighbors and others in a patient’s daily life. This burden appears through several dimensions, including treatment side effects and the impact on caregivers and features of the patient’s environment. The aim of this review is to consider, compile and describe the humanistic burden of schizophrenia as documented in the literature. Materials and methods We conducted a literature review assessing the worldwide disease burden of schizophrenia, taking into account all humanistic burden topics. The search considered several databases, including Embase, Medline, Cochrane Library, The German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI) and the ISPOR conference websites. Results The search identified 200 literature reviews, covering several dimensions of humanistic burden and documenting many issues. Main findings included the high death rates that may be explained by long-lasting negative health habits, disease- and treatment-related metabolic disorders, and consequent increased frequencies of cardiovascular diseases. Co-existing depression was found to have adverse consequence on the course of schizophrenia progression, morbidity and mortality. Cognitive impairment also adds to the burden of schizophrenia. Social impairment is worsened by underestimated stigmatisation and lack of corresponding awareness within the professional and social spheres. Finally, caregiver burden was found to be considerable. Discussion. Humanistic burden among patients with schizophrenia is substantial potentially impacted by co-morbid depressive symptoms, caregiver burden and cognitive impairment. Effects of treatment on humanistic burden in addition to economic burden need to be explored in future trials.
    Journal of Psychiatric Research 07/2014; · 4.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aims. Previous population-based studies did not support the view that biological and genetic causal models help increase social acceptance of people with mental illness. However, practically all these studies used un-labelled vignettes depicting symptoms of the disorders of interest. Thus, in these studies the public's reactions to pathological behaviour had been assessed rather than reactions to psychiatric disorders that had explicitly been labelled as such. The question arises as to whether results would have been similar if respondents had been confronted with vignettes with explicit mention of the respective diagnosis. Methods. Analyses are based on data of a telephone survey in two German metropolises conducted in 2011. Case-vignettes with typical symptoms suggestive of depression or schizophrenia were presented to the respondents. After presentation of the vignette respondents were informed about the diagnosis. Results. We found a statistically significant association of the endorsement of brain disease as a cause with greater desire for social distance from persons with schizophrenia. In major depression, this relation was absent. With both disorders, there was no statistically significant association between the endorsement of hereditary factors as a cause and social distance. Conclusions. Irrespective of whether unlabelled or labelled vignettes are employed, the ascription to biological or genetic causes seems not to be associated with a reduction of the public's desire for social distance from people with schizophrenia or depression. Our results corroborate the notion that promulgating biological and genetic causal models may not help decrease the stigma surrounding these illnesses.
    Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences 04/2014; · 3.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although only a few people exposed to a traumatic event (TE) develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), symptoms that do not meet full PTSD criteria are common and often clinically significant. Individuals with these symptoms sometimes have been characterized as having subthreshold PTSD, but no consensus exists on the optimal definition of this term. Data from a large cross-national epidemiologic survey are used in this study to provide a principled basis for such a definition.
    Biological psychiatry. 04/2014;

Publication Stats

13k Citations
1,491.47 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2014
    • Università degli studi di Cagliari
      • Department of Public Health, Clinical and Molecular Medicine
      Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
    • University Medical Center Hamburg - Eppendorf
      Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2013
    • The London School of Economics and Political Science
      • Personal Social Services Research Unit
      London, ENG, United Kingdom
    • Université René Descartes - Paris 5
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2010–2013
    • University of Greifswald
      • Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
      Greifswald, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
    • Ministry of Health (Israel)
      Yerushalayim, Jerusalem District, Israel
    • Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría
      Ciudad de México, The Federal District, Mexico
    • University of Hamburg
      • Department of Medical Sociology and Health Economics
      Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
    • Saint George Hospital University Medical Center
      Beyrouth, Beyrouth, Lebanon
  • 2012
    • Illinois Institute of Technology
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
    • University of Toronto
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • Boston Children's Hospital
      • Division of General Pediatrics
      Boston, MA, United States
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Health Care Policy
      Boston, MA, United States
    • Creativ-Ceutical
      Letzeburg, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • 2008–2012
    • Medical University of Vienna
      • Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
      Wien, Vienna, Austria
    • Fachhochschule Münster
      Muenster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    • University of New South Wales
      Kensington, New South Wales, Australia
    • University of Ibadan
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
    • Universitair Ziekenhuis Leuven
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Louvain, Flanders, Belgium
    • Boston College, USA
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • University of Groningen
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Groningen, Province of Groningen, Netherlands
  • 1996–2012
    • University of Leipzig
      • • Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie
      • • Institut für Sozialmedizin, Arbeitsmedizin und Public Health
      Leipzig, Saxony, Germany
  • 2009
    • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    • Peking University
      • Institute of Mental Health
      Beijing, Beijing Shi, China
  • 2008–2009
    • University College London
      • Mental Health Sciences Unit
      London, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2007–2009
    • University of Otago
      • Department of Psychological Medicine (Dunedin)
      Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
  • 1993–2009
    • Central Institute of Mental Health
      Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2005–2006
    • University of Freiburg
      • Institute of Psychology
      Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2004–2005
    • Universität Ulm
      • Clinic of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy III (Ulm)
      Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
    • Fachhochschule der Wirtschaft
      Paderborn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
    • University of Vienna
      Wien, Vienna, Austria