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Tunis Med. 2012 Nov;90(11):793-7.

[Social representations of the psychiatric diseases in Tunisia].

[Article in French]

Author information

  • 1Hopital Razi, Manouba.



Nowadays, and thanks to the major transformations experienced by psychiatry, since a half century, we estimate that the perception of the persons with psychiatric disorders would have changed and that they would have acquired the statute of patient with whole share.


To study social representation of psychiatric diseases in Tunisia.


Prospective study, based on the socio-anthropological fold of the study "Mental health in general population: images and realities", the social representations associated with "madness", "mental illness" and "depression" in a representative sample of 920 subjects.


Gradual images for these 3 archetypes were found. In fact, the depression is perceived as a soft disorder, which is reactional to the difficulties of life. The behaviour related to depression not only is seen as the least dangerous, but also the closest to the normality. Therefore, the "depressive" remains relatively accepted and integrated within the society. On the contrary the image of the "insane" is printed by a pejorative connotation and is marked by dangerousness, unpredictability, and immorality. Besides, the origins of the madness seem enigmatic. The "insane" is, therefore, stigmatized and thrown back. His exclusion extends as well to the family, social and professional domains.


The image of the mental illness seems some what blurred, taking place in the interface of madness, depression and neurological diseases.

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