Prejudice towards people with mental illness, schizophrenia, and depression among mental health professionals and the general population

Boris Bizumic*, Beth Gunningham, Bruce K. Christensen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The aim of the study was to measure and compare prejudice towards people with specific mental illnesses between mental health professionals and the general population, and examine personality, ideological, and attitudinal antecedents of prejudice. To do so, we also aimed to validate three shortened scales of prejudice. A sample of mental health professionals (N = 299) and a sample from the general population (N = 427) completed shortened versions of the Prejudice towards People with Mental Illness, Prejudice towards People with Schizophrenia, and Prejudice towards People with Depression scales. They also completed measures of validity criteria and demographics. The scales demonstrated construct validity in both samples. Although prejudice was highest towards people with schizophrenia and lowest towards people with depression, mental health professionals demonstrated significantly less prejudice overall than the general population. Prejudice was associated with higher social dominance orientation, right wing authoritarianism, ethnocentrism, conservatism, and generalized prejudice, and lower agreeableness, openness to experience, and contact. These antecedents of prejudice were better predictors than any demographic or profession-related variables examined. This study contributes increased knowledge of the structure and correlates of prejudice towards people with mental disorders. This knowledge should inform more nuanced and effective interventions, therapy, and training.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number114817
    JournalPsychiatry Research
    Volume317
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

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