This study is based on the contact hypothesis that contact with mental illness is the most effective anti-stigma strategy.
This study aims to analyze which form of contact can most effectively decrease the dangerousness and social distance associated with schizophrenia, depression and alcoholism.
In total, 573 Korean adults (Mage = 43.71 years, standard deviation (SD) = 13.41; 54.1% male, 45.9% female) were surveyed about randomly assigned vignettes of schizophrenia, depression and alcoholism. The participants were questioned on the dangerousness and social distance associated with the assigned vignette, as well as direct and indirect contact experience with the mental illness. Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the main effect and interaction effect that the type of mental illness and contact experience have on the two dependent variables (dangerousness and social distance).
The findings show that the type of mental illness has a significant main effect on dangerousness and social distance, but contact type only has a significant main effect on social distance. Moreover, the two independent variables (mental illness subtype and contact experience) have an interaction effect on two dependent variables (dangerousness and social distance). Therefore, the anti-stigma effect of contact varies according to the type of mental illness.
Our findings suggest that appropriate anti-stigma strategies are required for each type of mental illness. Considering that opportunities for direct contact with persons with mental illness are highly limited, it is necessary to actively utilize indirect contact.
Minhwa Lee, Mikyung Seo
International Journal of Social Psychiatry, December 20, 2017