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The differential effects of a focus on symptoms versus recovery in reducing stigma of schizophrenia

The differential effects of a focus on symptoms versus recovery in reducing stigma of schizophrenia

Norman, Ross. M.G., Li, Yixian, Sorrentino, Richard, Hampson, Elizabeth and Ye, Yang ORCID: 0000-0001-7142-3869 (2017) The differential effects of a focus on symptoms versus recovery in reducing stigma of schizophrenia. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 52 (11). pp. 1385-1394. ISSN 0933-7954 (Print), 1433-9285 (Online) (doi:

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Although it has been contended that contact with individuals with mental illness is the most effective intervention for stigma reduction, the content of the contact experience is likely to determine whether or not it is beneficial. In the current study, we extend investigations of the impact of whether such contact highlights the potential for recovery versus the nature of acute symptoms. We examine whether any differential impacts persist over a two week period and the extent to which they are mediated by perceptions of similarity and feelings of empathy and/or sympathy. We also measured an overt behaviour, seating distance, at two week follow-up. Using a randomized control design, we found that video exposure to an individual who described his recovery from schizophrenia was generally more effective in improving impressions and reducing preferred level of social distance than when the same person described acute symptoms of schizophrenia or a no-video control condition. These effects persisted up to two weeks. Although the symptom-focused video resulted in great sympathy for the person, this did not translate into positive impressions or reduced social distance. Mediational analyses yielded findings consistent with the benefits of the recovery video being partially mediated by increased perceptions of similarity to the person and lower feelings of sympathy. There were no differential effects of experimental condition on seating distance, but exposure to the recovery-focused video did result in less anxiety in anticipation of meeting the person in the video relative to the control condition.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: contact, stigma, social distance, attitudes
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 08:26
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None

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