Dispelling the Stigma of Schizophrenia: What Sort of Information Is Best?

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Abstract

This study investigated what type of information reduces stigmatization of schizophrenia. Subjects were presented with one of six varying descriptions of a hypothetical case in which a target individual had recovered from a mental disorder. Subjects were asked if they knew someone with a mental illness. Those individuals who had no previous contact perceived the mentally ill as dangerous and chose to maintain a greater social distance from them. In general, knowledge of the symptoms associated with the acute phase of schizophrenia created more stigma than the label of schizophrenia alone. In contrast, more information about the target individuals post-treatment living arrangements (i.e., supervised care) reduced negative judgments. Implications for public education and future research are discussed.

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