Differences in Attributions of Mental Illness and Social Distance for Portrayals of Four Mental Disorders

Zachary M. Kasow, Robert S. Weisskirch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For individuals with mental illness, others' perceptions of mental illness often limit integration into communities. Perceptions of mental illness manifest as social stigma in the form of social distance and may depend on individuals' attributions of the origins of mental illness. 180 university students completed a survey on attribution of mental illness and social distance across several disorders (psychiatric and physical). Participants indicated greater social distance for severe mental illness (i.e., schizophrenia) than less severe mental illness and physical illness. More desire for social distance may be related to unfamiliarity with severe mental illness rather than less severe mental and physical illnesses. Greater understanding of how individuals perceive mental illness can inform efforts to educate the public.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalPsychological Reports
StatePublished - 2010


  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology

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