A Bayesian Examination of the Effect of a Mental Health Psychosocial Education Vignette on Stigma Toward Persons with Schizophrenia and Depression

Project Abstract

Psychosocial education has been used to combat stigma in a number of settings, but familiarity with and exposure to mental illness may also be key factors that reduce stigmatizing comments and behaviors. In this study, we implemented a between-subjects design where participants were allocated into two groups: one who received psychoeducational information about mental health (i.e., the “education group”); and one who received no psychoeducational information (i.e., the “control group”). Regardless of the group, all participants then read vignettes which discussed information about the diagnosis of schizophrenia or the diagnosis of depression. Following the vignettes, all participants were presented with a battery of questionnaires inquiring about stigma toward the condition (e.g., “I would find it difficult to trust someone with schizophrenia”) and their proximity with specific conditions (i.e., whether or not they or a family member had been formally diagnosed with a mental disorder). The aim of this study was to further understand the relationship between stigma and mental health by examining the implementation of brief psychosocial education within a Bayesian framework. We hypothesized that, overall, participants would be more stigmatizing toward schizophrenia than depression. We further hypothesized that participants who received the psychoeducational piece were less likely to stigmatize any condition. We chose a Bayesian paradigm because interpretation of results allows one to directly test the plausibility of the null or alternative hypothesis (e.g., whether or not the psychoeducational piece “worked”). To our knowledge, there is little research testing the effects of psychoeducational pieces in students, and thus these results can inform future studies’ priors for Bayesian analyses. A Bayesian 2 X 2 ANOVA (vignette: psychoeducation v. none; condition: schizophrenia v. depression) was run to examine the effects of these independent variables on anxiety toward persons with mental illness. Overall, there was no effect of the psychoeducational condition, (Mposterior = 0.15, SDposterior = 0.74), 95% credible interval (CI) [-1.32, 1.64], suggesting that participants who received this information did not differ in their anxiety toward individuals with schizophrenia or depression. However, there was a significant effect of participants in the schizophrenia condition. That is, they appeared to be more anxious toward persons with schizophrenia than those with depression, (Mposterior = 5.10, SDposterior = 0.78), 95% credible interval (CI) [3.55, 6.66]. These results support existing literature, in that serious mental illness is more stigmatized than any mental illness, and current programs used to combat stigma may not be effective.


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Funding Type

Travel Grant

Academic College

College of Humanities and Fine Arts


Clinical Psychology


Master of Science in Clinical Psychology




D. Gage Jordan Ph.D.

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology

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