Determinants of Social Distance towards People suffering from Schizophrenia. Results from a Trend Analysis of two Population Surveys in Austria. Paper presented at Fourth International Stigma Conference 2009 21st – 23rd January 2009, London UK Grausgruber, Alfred* Schöny, W.*/Grausgruber-Berner, R.*/Meise, U.*/Koren, G.* *Department of Sociology, Johannes Kepler University of Linz A-4040 Linz, Altenbergerstr. 69, Austria e-mail: email@example.com ** pro mente praevention Austria, Linz A-4020 Linz, Lohnstorferplatz 28, Austria
Background • - Anti-Stigma-Campaigne of the WPA – Austria member • - To get a baseline: First nationwide survey in Austria in 1998 • - Many activities to combat stigmatization and discrimination • - Second representative survey in 2007 • - Attitude comparison of public in 1998 and 2007 • - Impact evaluation of the activities
Aims of the presentation • To examine the impact of various potential determinants of the desire to avoid contacts with people suffering from schizophrenia • To observe any substantial changes in the general structure of the impact factors
Method Representative surveys (16 years +) Table 1: Method – type of vignettes
Method Table 2: Determinants of social distance Statistical analysis: Factor analysis (causal attribution), Guttman and Mokken analysis (social distance), OLS-Regression
Results Table 3. Regression coefficients (stand. ß) of social distance from people with schizophre-nia on causal attribution, perceived treatment success, perceived dangerousness, knowing people suffering from schizophrenia, course of disease and year of survey (n=1240)
Results Table 4. Regression coefficients (stand. ß) of social distance from people with schizo-phrenia on causal attribution, perceived treatment success, perceived dangerousness, knowing people suffering from schizophrenia, course of disease 1998 and 2007
Discussion • Causal attribution, perceived dangerousness, perceived treatment success, perceived course of schizophrenia and familiarity have an independent impact on the desire to contact people suffering from schizophrenia. • Causal Attribution: • Assumed biological factors and personality characteristics (weak character) increase social distance • Assumed social stress increases contacts • Perceived success of treatment, course of treatment and knowing people suffering from schizophrenia have a direct independent positive effect on contacts
Discussion • No independent effect of the year when the survey was conducted • There are modifications in the structure of the determinants between 1998 and 2007, but they do not differ substancially except perceived stress as cause of schizophrenia • No increased influence of perceived success of treatment • Limitations: Not a panel study, social desirability, only one vignette, other factors (e.g. personality, values) not included
Conclusion • Genetics as important causes of schizophrenia leads to more distance: Unintended consequencies of the favoured medical model • Education people about treatment options increases contacts • The most important single impact factor on social contacts is still perceived dangerousness. Perceived dangerousness leads to more distance • How much is the influence of mass media‘s reporting about mental illness and violence?
Conclusion Influence of mass media? On 28th August last year (2007) a 19 year old man confessed, that he had killed another man. Survey conducted: September/Octo-ber 2007
Acknowledgement The survey 2007 was funded by the Ministry of Health, Family and Youth. In 1998 the study was unconditional financially supported by Österreichische Schizophrenie-gesellschaft. The authors are grateful to Hans Bacher and Joachim Gerich (Linz), and Wolfgang Fleischhacker (Innsbruck) for their advice and helpful comments.