1996 issue 3

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Volume 5, issue 3

Varia

Mental illness – social stereotype and distance

BOGNA WCIÓRKA1, Jacek Wciórka2
1. Centrum Badania Opinii Społecznej w Warszawie
2. I Klinika Psychiatryczna Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 1996, 5, 323-343
Keywords: mental illness, public opinions
Abstract

Results of an opinion poll taken from a representative, random sample of adult population of Poland regarding mental illness are reported. In the social stereotype of mental illness pejorative descriptions of the affected persons predominate. Friendliness towards the mentally ill is smaller than that towards people "innocently suffering a misfortune" (such as physical or mental handicap), but more pronounced than that towards patients "guilty of breaking social norms" (e.g. with AIDS, drug addiction, alcoholism). Respondents declare that their own friendliness is greater than that they perceive in others. The degree of objection against fulfilling various social roles by the mentally ill depends on whether the roles in question involve taking up responsibility for other people's fate. There is a considerable permissiveness as regards the use of justified compulsion in the treatment of the mentally ill, and the opening of various psychiatric facilities in the local community.