Year: 2008 Source: Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, v.118, no.4, (October 2008) p.315-321 SIEC No: 20080838

This study examined hypotheses that stigmatizing attitudes are increased by use of psychiatric labels, by conceptualization of symptoms as a medical illness, & by belief in genetic causes. A survey of 3998 Australian adults asked questions about 1 of 4 vignettes: early schizophrenia, chronic schizophrenia, depression, & depression with suicide ideation. Attitudes were measured by a social distance scale & a question about likely dangerousness. Social distance was unrelated to the hypothesized factors. For schizophrenia but not depression, belief in dangerousness was predicted by medical illness conceptualizations & genetic causal attribution. However, more important factors were the behaviours in the vignette & the belief that they are because of weakness of character. (27 refs.)