Consequences of beliefs about the nature of mental disorders

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Examined the attitudinal and behavioral effects of changing Ss' conceptualizations of mental disorders, along a social-learning/biosocial continuum, for their related attitudes and behaviors. 81 undergraduates in a field setting were exposed to communications that described mental disorders as almost exclusively a result of social learning, or to communications that also assigned a role to genetic and somatic factors. Several differences were observed between Ss in the 2 conditions. For example, those exposed to a biosocial orientation placed less value than those in a social-learning condition did on thinking about the cause and solution to emotional problems, and they felt they could do less on a personal level to control their problems. Also, they were more likely to use alcohol and/or drugs to relieve emotional distress in the 4 mo following the experimental manipulation. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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