Navigation Links
His and hers: Study examines the role of gender in the stigma of mental illness
Date:3/3/2009

The mentally ill don't get a fair shake in this country. Many employers don't want to hire them, and health insurers don't want to treat their illnesses. Even within their own communities and families, the mentally ill are often treated with contempt and outright anger. There have been many efforts to combat the stigma of mental illness, but with limited success at best. That's in part because the stereotypes are so powerful: Mental patients are either violently dangerous or docile and incompetent. We fear the first and disdain the latter.

These are not equal opportunity stereotypes, however. The image of dangerous mental illness, including violent alcoholism, is much more often directed at men. Similarly, women are much more likely to be caricatured as pathologically dependent and depressed. Psychologists James Wirth of Purdue and Galen Bodenhausen of Northwestern wanted to know if these gender biases contribute to the harmful stigma of mental illness. Specifically, they suspected that when the mentally ill act "out of character," violating the stereotype, they might arouse more of our sympathy and leniency; if it's more uncommon, it's probably more authentic. By contrast, we might be more apt to blame and stigmatize the mentally ill when they conform to stereotype.

The psychologists decided to explore this provocative idea with a national survey. They had a group of volunteers from around the country, varying widely in age, education, and socioeconomic status, read a case history of a person with mental illness. Some read about Brian, who was a stereotypical alcoholic, while others read about Karen, who showed all the classical symptoms of major depression. Still others read switched-around versions of these cases, so that Karen was the one abusing alcohol and Brian was depressed. The idea was to see if the typicality of Brian and Karen's symptoms (or lack of it) shaped the volunteers' reactions and judgments.

And it did, without question. As reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the volunteers expressed more anger and disgust - and less sympathy - toward Brian the alcoholic than toward Karen the alcoholic, and vice versa for depression. They were also more willing to help Brian and Karen when they suffered from an atypical disorder. Most striking of all, the volunteers were much more likely to view Brian's depression (and Karen's alcoholism) as genuine biological disorders - rather than character defects or matters of personal irresponsibility. What this suggests is that stigma-busting campaigns need to closely consider the potentially powerful role of intersecting stereotypes in shaping when and how mental illness stigma is expressed.


'/>"/>

Contact: Barbara Isanski
bisanski@psychologicalscience.org
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. HALT-C researchers: Interferon as long-term treatment for hepatitis C not effective
2. Children Tell Researchers: Well Get Fit if Its Fun
3. Researchers: Ban on fast food TV advertising would reverse childhood obesity trends
4. DNC Party Crashers: Police Arrest 1 Pro-lifer at Black Caucus; Eject Operation Rescue Leader from DNC Interfaith Gathering at Colorado Convention Center
5. Researchers: Program discourages HIV transmission in Russia
6. Attacks against medical researchers: Time to take a stand
7. Mayo Clinic researchers: Insulin-boosting medication does not impair ability to survive heart attack
8. Mayo researchers: complementary therapies help patients recover after heart surgery
9. OHSU researchers: Surgery, radiation gives early survival advantage in bile duct cancer
10. Preventing a second stroke is focus of study at Rush University Medical Center
11. New study shows how spikes in nitrite can have
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... a new initiative—the Siemens Foundation-PATH Ingenuity Fellowships—to develop the advanced skills needed ... top students from U.S. universities who will draw from Siemens’ deep knowledge ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Each year, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) ... at the Anaheim Convention Center. Almost 10,000 physical therapists across the country are expected ... learn more about their chosen field and network with their colleagues. As in ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... 12, 2016 , ... The ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value ... on April 5-7. The series is a multi-day, multi-workshop event designed to teach ... a broad range of topics, including coaching skills, the scientific method of problem ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... ... AssureVest Insurance Group, a locally owned insurance firm with offices serving Washington ... earmarked to purchase computers and software for Mrs. Harrison’s 2nd and 3rd grade special ... low-income area and has more than 60 2nd and 3rd graders with learning disabilities. ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Young Asset Protection, a full ... of the latest charity campaign in their community enrichment program. Art Expression utilizes ... worthy cause are currently being accepted at: http://artexpressioninc.org/ . , Art Expression ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... and SEOUL, South Korea ... Biosys­tems Menarini and Macrogen, Inc. today announced they ... and innovative procedures for precision medicine in cancer. ... Silicon Biosystems, DEPArray™ digital-sorting technology with Macrogen,s high-throughput ... tests certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... , Feb. 12 2016  OMS Supply, a ... and medical practitioners, announced today the recent launching of ... visitors a variety of features that enhance the user ... surgery supplies. --> ... a fairly new company that started in early 2016, ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... 12, 2016 Indiso ... den ungedeckten medizinischen Bedarf bei Lungen- und ... klinischen Forschungsprogramms bekannt. Das Programm, das sich ... ihrer respiratorischen Funktionen und anderer klinischer Parameter. ... Medizintechnikunternehmen, das sich auf den ungedeckten medizinischen ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: