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Attitudes toward Mental Illness: Are there gender differences in perceptions of Personal Responsibility, Dangerousness and Avoidance?

Bolam, Lauren (2014) Attitudes toward Mental Illness: Are there gender differences in perceptions of Personal Responsibility, Dangerousness and Avoidance? University of Cumbria. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This study examined males and females’ attitudes towards mental illness. It also examines three factors which have been previously found to be linked with attitudes towards mental illness. Two questionnaires were employed for this piece of research, the first questionnaire was from Reisenzein’s (1986) research on attribution and mental illness, Reisenzein’s questionnaire determined general attitudes towards mental illness, the other questionnaire was a one designed based upon Corrigan et al.’s (2001; 2003) Attitude to Mental Illness (AMIQ) for the purpose of this study, this questionnaire consisted of three vignettes of three different mental health issues and measured three factors: Personal Responsibility, Dangerousness and Avoidance. A total of forty-seven participants took part within this study and it was found that males scored higher in terms of negative attitudes towards mental illness, a correlation analysis indicated that there were significant positive correlations between factors being measured and General Attitudes. Further analysis in the form of regressions show all of the factors being measured were significant positive predictors of General Attitudes, whereas for females, the type of mental illness used within the vignette depended on which factor was a significant positive predictor. Furthermore another regression analysis with the Avoidance factor being the criterion showed that Dangerousness scores were significant positive predictors for females indicating that despite their more positive attitude they would still avoid an individual with a mental illness. Suggestions for further research were then made.

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