Editor's Notes

Lainie Krumenacker was recipient of an ORCA Travel Grant to present this research at the Clinical Research Methods & Statistics SIG Expo at ABCT's Annual Convention during November 2022 at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel.


Psychosocial education has been used to combat stigma in several settings, but familiarity with and exposure to mental illness may also be key factors in reducing 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 their group, all participants then read vignettes which discussed information about the diagnosis of schizophrenia or the diagnosis of depression. Following the vignettes, all participants completed a series 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 they or a family member had been formally diagnosed with a mental disorder). Overall, there was no effect of the psychoeducational condition, 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, as they were more anxious toward persons with schizophrenia than those with depression. Lastly, participants who reported as having been diagnosed with a mental illness were less anxious about interacting with persons with mental illness compared to participants who reported no diagnosis. These results support existing literature that serious mental illness is more stigmatized than any mental illness and that stigma may be reduced by exposure and familiarity to mental illness rather than the current programs used.



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