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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49779. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049779. Epub 2012 Nov 14.

Mental health literacy of depression: gender differences and attitudinal antecedents in a representative British sample.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Westminster, London, United Kingdom. v.swami@westminster.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Poor mental health literacy and negative attitudes toward individuals with mental health disorders may impede optimal help-seeking for symptoms of mental ill-health. The present study examined the ability to recognize cases of depression as a function of respondent and target gender, as well as individual psychological differences in attitudes toward persons with depression.

METHODS:

In a representative British general population survey, the ability to correctly recognize vignettes of depression was assessed among 1,218 adults. Respondents also rated the vignettes along a number of attitudinal dimensions and completed measures of attitudes toward seeking psychological help, psychiatric skepticism, and anti-scientific attitudes.

RESULTS:

There were significant differences in the ability to correctly identify cases of depression as a function of respondent and target gender. Respondents were more likely to indicate that a male vignette did not suffer from a mental health disorder compared to a female vignette, and women were more likely than men to indicate that the male vignette suffered from a mental health disorder. Attitudes toward persons with depression were associated with attitudes toward seeking psychological help, psychiatric skepticism, and anti-scientific attitudes.

CONCLUSION:

Initiatives that consider the impact of gender stereotypes as well as individual differences may enhance mental health literacy, which in turn is associated with improved help-seeking behaviors for symptoms of mental ill-health.

PMID:
23166769
PMCID:
PMC3498187
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0049779
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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