Document Detail

Determinants that shape public attitudes towards the mentally ill: a Dutch public study.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16501885     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: The stigmatisation of the mentally ill is considered a well-established fact. To improve negative attitudes among the general public, we need to identify the factors that cause them. Drawing from previous studies, we combined a variety of variables to examine a comprehensive explanative model. OBJECTIVES: We examined a sample of the Dutch public on their willingness to interact with mental patients. We examined a number of determinants concerning their influence on levels of social distance: demographical characteristics of the public, their beliefs about stereotypes of mental patients, their beliefs about causes of mental problems, their familiarity with mental illness. METHODS: We employed a questionnaire survey among two sub-samples of the Dutch public (n = 812, response 33%). RESULTS: Attributing psychiatric problems to structural causes (i.e. causes beyond patients' control and responsibility, such as genetic transmission) is associated with less social distance. Conversely, attribution to individual factors (e.g. drug abuse) related to more distant attitudes. Stereotypical beliefs about mental patients (e.g. untrustworthiness, aggressiveness, causing disturbances) relate to more social distance from mental patients. CONCLUSIONS: Results implied that our comprehensive model explains only a modest amount of variance, but shows that to improve public mental health literacy and attitudes should first deal with the most negative stereotypical beliefs.
Job T B van 't Veer; Herro F Kraan; Stans H C Drosseart; Jacqueline M Modde
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2006-01-19
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology     Volume:  41     ISSN:  1433-9285     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol     Publication Date:  2006 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-03-29     Completed Date:  2007-10-22     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8804358     Medline TA:  Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  310-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Faculty of Social Work, University of Professional Education NHL, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.
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MeSH Terms
Aged, 80 and over
Genetic Predisposition to Disease
Mental Disorders* / complications,  etiology,  psychology
Middle Aged
Models, Theoretical
Public Opinion*
Social Distance

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