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Psychiatr Prax. 2008 Nov;35(8):376-86. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1067396. Epub 2008 May 27.

[Evaluation of target-group oriented interventions aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Medizinische Universität Wien, Osterreich.



To provide a systematic review of target-group oriented interventions aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness.


An electronic literature search was carried out based on PubMed. In addition, the reference lists of included studies were examined and other sources like the internet were used.


51 studies could be identified, over half of them being targeted at school students. There was a large variation in the format of the various interventions. One half of interventions were based exclusively on education, the other half on a combination of education with contact with someone with a mental disorder. The vast majority of studies reported positive intervention effects. However, in several studies the effect did not persist over a time period of a few months. It appears easier to improve knowledge or to change misconceptions of mental disorders than to reduce the tendency to distance oneself from people with mental illness. When directly comparing the effect of interventions based exclusively on education with those combining education with facilitating contact with people with mental disorders, the latter proved more effective.


A remarkable number of targeted interventions aimed at reducing the stigma attached to mental illness have been carried out. However, due to methodological limitations no definite assessment of the effect of these interventions is possible at the present time. There is a pressing need for research that adheres more closely to the methodological standards of evaluation research.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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