Know Your Stigmas

Recently, scientists set out to get a sense of the stereotypes and stigmatization associated with mental illness on the whole as well as stigmas associated with sub-types of mental illnesses.

Here’s a segment from the study’s abstract:

Study 1 demonstrated that the overarching category of people with mental illness was perceived as relatively incompetent, but not very hostile (i.e., relatively warm). Study 2 found that when the general label of mental illness was separated into thirteen individual disorders, distinct stereotype content toward four clusters of illnesses emerged. One cluster, typified by illnesses with psychotic features (e.g., schizophrenia), was perceived to be hostile and incompetent. A second cluster, comprised of mood and anxiety disorders, was perceived as average on both competence and warmth. A third cluster of illnesses with neuro-cognitive deficits was thought to be warm but incompetent. The fourth cluster included groups with sociopathic tendencies and was viewed as hostile but relatively competent. The results clearly demonstrate that the stereotype content that underlies public stigma toward individual mental illnesses is not the same for all disorders. Harnessing knowledge of differing stereotype content toward clusters of mental illnesses may improve the efficacy of interventions to counteract public stigma.