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Distinct mental illnesses evoke systematic patterns of stereotype content and emotional prejudice among the lay public: an empirical investigation using the Stereotype Content Model and the BIAS Map for Alzheimer and Schizophrenia subgroups

Ryan, Lauren N. (2015) Distinct mental illnesses evoke systematic patterns of stereotype content and emotional prejudice among the lay public: an empirical investigation using the Stereotype Content Model and the BIAS Map for Alzheimer and Schizophrenia subgroups. University of West London. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The present study aimed to extend upon the current understanding of how intergroup stereotypes of Alzheimer and Schizophrenia sufferers are associated with differing levels of stereotype content; and whether such prejudicial stereotypes support the systematic patterns of emotional prejudice hypothesised by the Stereotype Content Model and the BIAS Map. A survey-based design using a 5-point competence/ warmth/ pity/ contempt scale was employed among 60 participants (20-75years) systematically recruited from the general public. Participants were randomly allocated to complete the survey based on one of three conditions: “Schizophrenia sufferers” (n=20); “Alzheimer sufferers” (n=20); and “average mentally healthy individuals” (n=20). Data was analysed with a MANOVA; accompanied by four follow up one-way between subjects ANOVA’s. It was found that: both mental illnesses were perceived as having less competence in comparison to healthy controls. Alzheimer sufferers cued higher warmth and pity ratings in comparison to Schizophrenia sufferers and healthy controls. Schizophrenia sufferers evoked higher contempt ratings in comparison to the control and the Alzheimer subgroups. These findings suggest there are systematic differences in stereotype content and emotional prejudice amidst the general public in association with distinct mental illness subgroups. Ultimately, advocating a further need to encourage greater social contact between mentally healthy persons and those attributed with a mental illness diagnosis, in order to improve intergroup relations and curtail prejudice.

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