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Psychiatry Res. 2013 Feb 28;205(3):185-91. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.11.023. Epub 2012 Dec 23.

The more information, the more negative stigma towards schizophrenia: Brazilian general population and psychiatrists compared.

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Department and Institute of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, Brazil.


Findings on stigmatizing attitudes toward individuals with schizophrenia have been inconsistent in comparisons between mental health professionals and members of the general public. In this regard, it is important to obtain data from understudied sociocultural settings, and to examine how attitudes toward mental illness vary in such settings. Nationwide samples of 1015 general population individuals and 1414 psychiatrists from Brazil were recruited between 2009 and 2010. Respondents from the general population were asked to identify an unlabeled schizophrenia case vignette. Psychiatrists were instructed to consider "someone with stabilized schizophrenia". Stereotypes, perceived prejudice and social distance were assessed. For the general population, stigma determinants replicated findings from the literature. The level of the vignette's identification constituted an important correlate. For psychiatrists, determinants correlated in the opposite direction. When both samples were compared, psychiatrists showed the highest scores in stereotypes and perceived prejudice; for the general population, the better they recognized the vignette, the higher they scored in those dimensions. Psychiatrists reported the lowest social distance scores compared with members of the general population. Knowledge about schizophrenia thus constituted an important determinant of stigma; consequently, factors influencing stigma should be further investigated in the general population and in psychiatrists as well.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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