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Community Ment Health J. 2010 Oct;46(5):494-9. doi: 10.1007/s10597-010-9309-1. Epub 2010 Apr 23.

An examination of two brief stigma reduction strategies: filmed personal contact and hallucination simulations.

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Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa, Baker Hall 334, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0505, USA.


Mental illness stigma is quite prevalent with dire consequences. A number of interventions to decrease stigma have been formulated, but have variable effectiveness and limited dissemination. This research examined the impact of two brief interventions: a film depicting individuals with schizophrenia (filmed contact) and a simulation of auditory hallucinations. Participants (N = 143) were randomly assigned to one of three interventions: (1) filmed contact, (2) simulation, or (3) no intervention, and completed two stigma measures prior to, immediately after, and 1 week after the intervention. The filmed contact intervention led to decreases in stigma which persisted across 1 week. However, the simulation led to increases in stigma. The results suggest that a filmed contact intervention may decrease two aspects of mental illness stigma (social distance and negative emotions), which has implications for wide dissemination. The efficacy of a hallucination simulations intervention remains dubious.

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