Mental Illness and social stigma

Mental Illness and social stigma
Mental Illness and social stigma

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Mental Illness and social stigma

Angermeyer, M. C., Holzinger, A., Carta, M. G. & Schomerus, G. (2011). Biogenetic explanations and public acceptance of mental illness: systematic review of population studies. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 199 (5); 367-372.

Aim; investigating if mental illness’ biogenetic causal attributions were linked to more tolerant attitudes in the general public, and if such attributions were connected to lower responsibility and guilt perceptions. There was also an exploration of the extent to which responsibility notions were linked to rejection of the mentally ill people. Finally, evaluating how prevalent responsibility notions were in the general public in relation to various mental disorders.

Research design; systematic review of population studies that were representative. There was an examination of the attitudes towards the mentally ill as well as the beliefs about the disorders.

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Key research findings/ recommendations; biogenetic causal models should cease being used to reduce rejection of the mentally ill. biogenetic causal attributions are not linked to attitudes that are more tolerant but are connected to stronger rejection (schizophrenia). The self-responsibility stereotype was not connected to rejection. Mental disorder’s public images are more dominated by dangerousness and unpredictability stereotypes. Responsibility is minimally relevant.

Strengths and weaknesses; there was use of an adequate number of studies. However, there is no mention of what can be used instead of the biogenetic causal models.

Deacon, B. (2013). The biomedical model of mental disorder: A critical analysis of its validity, utility, and effects on psychotherapy research. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 846-861.
the study aimed at exploring the biopsychosocial model that is often neglected in studying mental disorders.

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Research design; a scientific approach was used to investigate the speculations.

Key research findings/ recommendations; in America, the healthcare system has been dominated by the biologically-focused strategy to practice, policy, and science for over three decades. Within this period, there has been a rise in the psychiatric medications use. Moreover, mental conditions have been more commonly seen as brain diseases that result from chemical imbalances which can be corrected using disease-specific drugs.

Regardless of the widespread hope in the neuroscience’s potential of revolutionizing mental health practice, evidence shows that the biomedical model broadly lacked clinical innovation. It was also characterized by mental health impacts that were very poor. The biomedical paradigm profoundly has affected clinical psychology through drug trial methodology adoption in psychotherapy research.

Regardless of the fact that that this approach has brought about the development of psychological treatments that are empirically supported for different mental diseases, it ignores the treatment process inhibits dissemination and treatment innovation, and resulted to the classification of this field along practitioner and scientist lines.

Strengths and weaknesses; noteworthy, the researchers recommend the biopsychosocial mode as the appealing biomedical approach’s alternative. In addition, there is advice on the need for a public and honest dialogue regarding the utility and validity of the common biomedical paradigm.

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Haslam, N. & Kvaale, E.P. (2015). Biogenetic Explanations of Mental Disorder: The Mixed-Blessings Model. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(5), 399-404
exploring how the mentally ill people are perceived in relation to biogenetic explanations from the perspectives of clinicians, the affected, and public.

Research design; systematic review.

Key research findings/ recommendations; regardless of the fact that biogenetic explanations might soften public stigma through diminishing blame, they escalate it through inducing avoidance, pessimism as well as the belief that those affected are unpredictable and dangerous. Such explanations might also induce helplessness and pessimism among the affected people and minimizes the empathy the treating clinicians often feel for them.

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Strengths and weaknesses; it is recommendable for the authors to mention that they interpreted the findings in the light of the social psychology research in relation to mechanistic and essentialist thinking. However, a lot more studies need to be conducted so as to explain many aspects that this study does not touch on.

Pattyn, E., Verhaeghe, M., Sercu, C., & Bracke, P. (2013). Medicalizing versus psychologizing mental illness: what are the implications for help seeking and stigma? A general population study. Soc Psychiatr Psychiatr Epidimiol, 48, 1637-1645.

Aim; the aim of this study was contrasting mental illness’ medicalized conceptualization with the psychologizing mental illness. It also examined the consequences of sticking to one model as opposed to the other for stigma and help seeking.

Research design

            There was used of survey research approach. Face-to-face interviews were conducted in a representative sample that consisted of a general population from Belgium. The vignette technique was essential for depecting schizophrenia. Te disease view, labeling processes, and causal attributions were addressed. Data analysis was through linear and logistic regression models using SPSS Statistics 19.

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Key research findings/ recommendations;  mental illness’ medicalization requires a package deal, that is, the disease view’s application to promote medical treatment recommendations, and biopsychosocial causal attributions. Labeling triggers stigmatizing attitudes. General medical care is recommended by those who prefer the biopsychosocial approach while specialized medical care is recommended by those who use the disease view.

In relation to informal help, those that use the biopsychosocial model rarely recommend consulting friends compared to those who prefer the psychosocial model.  Those who use the medical label barely recommend self care. Those who use the medical model are likely to exclude others socially, especially those that have undergone through psychiatric treatment.

Strengths and weaknesses

            There is a clear comparison between different model but the results are limited to the Belgians.

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