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  1. Fulltext. Public conceptions of mental illness : Labels, causes, dangerousness, and social distance.

    Article - En anglais



    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

    Logo du centre Notice produite par :
    Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique

    Cote : 99-0517247

    Code Inist : 002B18H08. Création : 18/05/2000.