[Stigma and discrimination towards people with schizophrenia—a survey of studies and psychological mechanisms]

Ewa Jackowska
Psychiatria Polska 2009, 43 (6): 655-70
The stereotypes and sigma associated with mental disorders are frequently the main obstacles preventing early and successful treatment. Particularly in the case of schizophrenia, the burden of stigma often leads to chronic social impairment. In the paper, the prevalence of different public beliefs about mental disorders and varied components of the stereotypes of schizophrenia among respondents living in a few European countries (Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Croatia and Spain) are presented. The data have indicated that patients suffering from schizophrenia and their families not rarely have experienced social distancing, exclusion and rejection not only from the general public but also from mental health professionals. In general, respondents are fearful of people diagnosed with schizophrenia and desire emotional distance from them. The public attitudes tend to characterize people suffering from schizophrenia as dangerous, unpredictable, unreliable and so on. The article describes chosen psychological mechanisms that are associated with the presented results and explain the stigma attitudes of respondents.

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