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Schizophrenia Research 55 (3): 269-276 (2002)

The effects of stereotype suppression on psychiatric stigma

DL Penn , PW Corrigan
The effects of stereotype suppression on psychiatric stigma were investigated in two studies. In experiment 1, 52 participants were presented with a photograph of someone labeled with schizophrenia and instructed to write a passage describing a day in that person's life. Half of the participants were instructed to avoid using schizophrenia-related stereotypes in their passages (the stereotype suppression condition). Participants were then presented with a photograph of a different individual labeled with schizophrenia and asked to write another passage with stereotype suppression instructions omitted. The results showed that while stereotype suppression occurred for the first passage, the expected rebound effects were not observed in the second passage. Furthermore, the results were unchanged when participants' prior experience with persons with mental illness was considered. In a second study, the effects of stereotype suppression on behavior (i.e. seating distance from a person with schizophrenia) were examined in 58 participants. While the stereotype suppression instructions resulted in less stereotypical passages, replicating the results of study 1, no rebound effects on behavior were observed. A non-significant trend was observed whereby previous contact with persons with mental illness was associated with less social distance from someone with schizophrenia. Implications of the findings for reducing psychiatric stigma are discussed. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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