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J Psychiatr Pract. 2008 Mar;14(2):86-93. doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000314315.94791.80.

Knowledge about schizophrenia and social distance toward individuals with schizophrenia: a survey among predominantly low-income, urban, African American community members.

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Emory University, Department of Psychology, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


This study surveyed 111 urban African American community members regarding their level of familiarity with mental illness, knowledge about schizophrenia, and social distance toward individuals with schizophrenia. The participants were predominantly Protestant, with relatively low educational attainment and low income. Knowledge and social distance scores were not significantly correlated. Independently significant predictors of knowledge about schizophrenia, which accounted for 49% of the variance in scores, included level of educational attainment, gender, having a friend with a history of psychiatric treatment, and having known someone with schizophrenia. Independent predictors of social distance scores included family history of psychiatric treatment and family history of schizophrenia, which accounted for 14% of variance in scores. Further research involving specific racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic groups is needed to better understand the complex associations underlying knowledge about schizophrenia and stigma.

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