Continuity and Change in the Impact of Neuroscientific Attributions on the Stigma of Mental Illness: Evidence From Two National Surveys of the U.S. Jack K. Martin, Bernice A. Pescosolido , J. Scott Long, Tait Medina Indiana University – Bloomington Bruce G. Link, Jo Phelan
Continuity and Change in the Impact of Neuroscientific Attributions on the Stigma of Mental Illness: Evidence From Two National Surveys of the U.S.
Jack K. Martin, Bernice A. Pescosolido,
J. Scott Long, Tait Medina
Indiana University – Bloomington
Bruce G. Link, Jo Phelan
Presented at the Fourth International Stigma Conference,
London, United Kingdom. January 2009
Funding provided by the National Science Foundation (to NORC) in 1996 & 2006, and research grants from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (RO1-AA-10243) for the 1996 GSS; the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), [KO2-MH42655, R29-MH44780, & R24-MH51669] in 1996; the NIMH [RO1-MH074985] in 2006; the MacArthur Foundation in 1996; and the Office of the Vice President for Research at Indiana University, Bloomington in 1996 and 2006.
We also thank Tom Smith, Director, General Social Survey (GSS), National Opinion Research Center (NORC), University of Chicago for his assistance.
The last 20 years have seen unprecedented increases in national and international media and governmental efforts to advance a medical model of mental illness, with the expressed hope of decreasing the stigma of mental illness.
Illustrated in Figure 1.
1995. “Depression: What Every Woman Should Know” (NIMH).
1996. “In Our Own Voice” (NAMI).
1999. “Change Your Mind” (MTV).
2000. “Open The Doors” (World Psychiatric Assn).
2001. “Conference On Stigma and Global Health” (NIMH).
2002. “Campaign For The Mind of Americana” (NIMH).
2003. “Real Men, Real Depression’ (NIH).
2004. “Stigma and Mental Health Disparities” (NIH).
2005. “Voice Awards” (SAMSHA).
2006. “What A Difference a Friend Makes” (SAMSHA).
1. Over the past ten years have Americans become more likely to endorse a medical/neuro-science model of mental illness that has led them to view such problems as a “disease” or medical malady, treatable like any other?
2. At the “turn of the century,” are Americans less likely to express a desire to avoid interaction/contact with persons experiencing mental health problems?
114 comparisons of knowledge and stigma-related items, including attributions, treatment recommendations, stigma, and social distance.
Concentrate on three today.
“In your opinion, is it very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely, or not at all likely that name’s situation might be caused by”(1 = very likely or somewhat likely):
1. Genetic/inherited condition;
2. A chemical imbalance in the brain.
“Should [name] do any of the following?”(1=yes):
1. Go to a medical doctor for help?
2. Go to a psychiatrist for help?
“Would you be definitely willing, probably willing, probably unwilling, or definitely unwilling to” (1=definitely unwilling or probably unwilling):
1. Move next door to name?
2. Spend an evening socializing with name?
3. Make friends with name?
4. Have name work closely with you on the job?
5. Have name marry into your family?
*p < .05; 1 tailed-tests
*p < .05; 1 tailed-tests
Modest/nominal increase in the public’s endorsement of a medical model of mental illness.
Assumption that increased knowledge will translate into the reduction of prejudice is mistaken.