EXAMINATION OF STIGMATIZING BELIEFS ABOUT DEPRESSION AND STIGMA-REDUCTION EFFECTS OF EDUCATION BY USING IMPLICIT MEASURES1, 2, 3

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Abstract

Stigmatizing beliefs about depression have been viewed as a barrier to seeking professional treatments. To reconsider frameworks used in previous research, the present study utilized Brief Implicit Association Tests (BIATs) and examined the following two topics: (i) whether participants tend to hold dangerous beliefs about depression, and (ii) whether stigmatizing beliefs can be reduced through education. Japanese university students (48 women, 82 men; M age = 20.2 yr.) voluntarily participated in the study and were randomly assigned to three conditions in which they received different educational texts (biomedical, psychosocial, and bio-psychosocial). Participants completed repeated assessments (baseline, post-education, and 4-wk. follow-up), in which they were administered BIATs measuring beliefs about being weak-willed and dangerousness of people with depression, along with explicit measures of blameworthiness, dangerous beliefs, and of other related variables. BIATs at baseline indicated that the participants did not tend to hold the belief about dangerousness. There was no significant reduction of beliefs about being weak-willed and dangerousness of people with depression, which were measured by BIATs, after reading the educational texts.

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