The authors used nationwide survey data to characterize current public conceptions related to recognition of mental illness and perceived causes, dangerousness, and desired social distance.
Data were derived from a vignette experiment inciuded in the 1996 General Social Survey.
Respondents (n=1444) were randomly assigned to I of 5 vignette conditions.
Four vignettes described psychiatric disorders meeting diagnostic criteria, and the fifth depicted a « troubled person » with sub-clinical problems and worries.
Results indicate that the majority of the public identifies schizophrenia (88%) and major depression (69%) as mental illnesses and that most report multicausal explanations combining stressful circumstances with biologic and genetic factors.
Results also show, however, that smaller proportions associate alcohol (49%) or drug (44%) abuse with mental illness and that symptoms of mental illness remain strongly connected with public fears about potential violence and with a desire for limited social interaction.
While there is reason for optimism in the public's recognition of mental illness and causal attributions, a strong stereotype of dangerousness and desire for social distance persist.
These latter conceptions are likely to negatively affect people with mental illness.
Mots-clés Pascal : Opinion publique, Perception sociale, Trouble psychiatrique, Santé mentale, Aspect social, Homme, Croyance, Etats Unis, Amérique du Nord, Amérique, Attitude
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Public opinion, Social perception, Mental disorder, Mental health, Social aspect, Human, Belief, United States, North America, America, Attitude
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 99-0517247
Code Inist : 002B18H08. Création : 18/05/2000.