Patterns of social distance towards people suffering from schizophrenia in Austria: a comparison between the general public, relatives and mental health staff
Article first published online: 8 SEP 2006
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 115, Issue 4, pages 310–319, April 2007
How to Cite
Grausgruber, A., Meise, U., Katschnig, H., Schöny, W. and Fleischhacker, W. W. (2007), Patterns of social distance towards people suffering from schizophrenia in Austria: a comparison between the general public, relatives and mental health staff. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 115: 310–319. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2006.00882.x
- Issue published online: 13 MAR 2007
- Article first published online: 8 SEP 2006
- Accepted for publication June 20, 2006
- social distance;
Objective: The aims of this study were to identify the different aspects of the attitudes towards people suffering from schizophrenia and to find factors influencing these attitudes – especially the willingness to contact people suffering from schizophrenia – as well as to obtain information on how to reduce stigma and discrimination.
Method: We conducted a study to investigate these attitudes in Austria. A representative sample of the general public, different professional groups working in the field and relatives of mentally ill people were interviewed. The public, relatives and people working in the mental health field were asked a number of the same questions, to allow for comparisons between groups.
Results: We found great differences in key dimensions of the attitude towards people suffering from schizophrenia between groups: these included different causal attributions to schizophrenia, different attitudes concerning the perceived success of the treatment of schizophrenia, different fears concerning perceived dangerousness and a different willingness to interact voluntarily with schizophrenia patients.
Conclusion: The factors influencing the distance towards people suffering from schizophrenia differ between groups. Our findings should help to optimize campaigns fighting against stigma and discrimination.