Journal Article

Dispelling the Stigma of Schizophrenia: II. The Impact of Information on Dangerousness

David L. Penn, Samatha Kommana, Maureen Mansfield and Bruce G. Link

in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Published on behalf of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Volume 25, issue 3, pages 437-446
Published in print January 1999 | ISSN: 0586-7614
Published online January 1999 | e-ISSN: 1745-1701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.schbul.a033391
Dispelling the Stigma of Schizophrenia: II. The Impact of Information on Dangerousness

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This study addressed a relatively neglected topic in schizophrenia: identifying methods to reduce stigma directed toward individuals with this disorder. The study investigated whether presentation of information describing the association between violent behavior and schizophrenia could affect subjects' impressions of the dangerousness of both a target person with schizophrenia and individuals with mental illness in general. Subjects with and without previous contact with individuals with a mental illness were administered one of four “information sheets” with varying information about schizophrenia and its association with violent behavior. Subjects then read a brief vignette of a male or female target individual with schizophrenia. Results showed that subjects who reported previous contact with individuals with a mental illness rated the male target individual and individuals with mental illness in general as less dangerous than did subjects without previous contact. Subjects who received information summarizing the prevalence rates of violent behavior among individuals with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders (e.g., substance abuse) rated individuals with a mental illness as less dangerous than did subjects who did not receive this information. Implications of the findings for public education are discussed.

Keywords: Stigma; dangerousness; contact

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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